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Australia'Creepy' aspiring rock star loses defamation case over group sex claims

15:55  19 may  2019
15:55  19 may  2019 Source:   theage.com.au

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An aspiring rock star who charged people to be in his "entourage" and advertised a "bikini concert" in a Gold Coast stadium without the venue's permission has lost a defamation case over claims he is " creepy " and a "con-man" who tried to encourage young women to engage in group sex .

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'Creepy' aspiring rock star loses defamation case over group sex claims© A Current Affair David Ashworth, also known as David Otto.

An aspiring rock star who charged people to be in his "entourage" and advertised a "bikini concert" in a Gold Coast stadium without the venue's permission has lost a defamation case over claims he is "creepy" and a "con-man" who tried to encourage young women to engage in group sex.

'Creepy' aspiring rock star loses defamation case over group sex claims
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David Ashworth, also known as David Otto, sued Nine, the Daily Mail in Australia and News Corp's Gold Coast Bulletin and Courier Mail in the NSW District Court over an A Current Affair broadcast and online articles that he claimed had ruined his reputation.

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On Thursday, Judge Judith Gibson ruled the media outlets had successfully defended their reports on the basis the allegations were substantially true, including that Mr Ashworth was "deluded" and  "famous for his sleazy scams".

Mr Ashworth, who is bankrupt, describes himself on his website as a "prolific visionary and creator" who has played live events with a "lingerie rock band" under the name "GirlClub".

The court heard he claimed to be a cross between Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, former prime minister John Howard and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl.

During the 17-day trial, Mr Ashworth admitted he had lied about selling out events in Sydney and Brisbane to create "hype". He also agreed he had charged people to be in his entourage.

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' Creepy ' aspiring rock star loses defamation case over group sex claims . David Ashworth claimed to be a cross between Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, former prime minister John Howard and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, the court heard. — Share news in the SOC.

Mr Ashworth advertised in 2017 for women to join his band "Secret Love" as "pussy cat dolls of rock", saying:  "Wanna be famous? Willing to do it anyway even if your parents say no?"

Five women gave evidence for the media outlets. Judge Gibson said Mr Ashworth, now 40, "considered he was irresistible to these women, whom he portrayed as both crazy about him and sexually voracious".

Judge Gibson said each of the young women described having their interest piqued by "an enticing concert/holiday-resort-based job trial", which was "at best misleading or at worst fake", when "what was really on offer was a polyamorous sexual experience" with Mr Ashworth and his girlfriend.

Four of the five women were aged between 18 and 20, while Mr Ashworth was in his late 30s.

When the women resisted offers of group sex or attempted to leave, "they were met with [physical or legal] threats which caused two of them to fear for their lives and one to be assaulted".

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One woman who applied for a receptionist job gave evidence she fled after being invited to "cuddle" with Mr Ashworth and his girlfriend, because she overheard a conversation she believed suggested her drink had been spiked.

Judge Gibson said Mr Ashworth negotiated in 2015 to buy Temple Island – off the coast of Queensland – when he could not even afford the "modest" $5000 deposit.  He then advertised a new scam called "Girl City Island" where women could "pay [$200 a week] to stay" or "play to stay" by helping out on the island.

A "Bikini Concert" he advertised in 2015 at the Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast was also a scam, Judge Gibson said. The stadium had not given him permission to hold the event, which did not go ahead.

Judge Gibson ordered Mr Ashworth to pay the media outlet's costs. She noted that "unfortunately" the Commonwealth Bankruptcy Act permitted bankrupts to launch defamation proceedings.

In a statement, a spokesperson for A Current Affair said: "When these young women came to A Current Affair looking for help, we knew this was an important story – to expose David Otto and to prevent any more people falling victim to his scams, in particular the vulnerable young women he targeted.

"This was an important case for us to fight and we commend the bravery of the victims who gave evidence against him."

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