WHALE OIL: One man’s fight to save his reputation, then his life

‘A masterpiece of meticulous research and compelling story-telling’ – Nicky Hager

Potton & Burton, 2019

In May 2012 Auckland businessman Matt Blomfield found himself the target of a vicious online attack, the work of Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater. The attack came out of the blue, destroying Matt’s reputation and career, stealing his identity, turning him into a social outcast,. The abuse continued for years, almost certainly including an armed attack that almost left him dead.

But Matt Blomfield decided to fight back. He spent seven years and many hundreds of thousands of dollars taking a defamation case against Slater, which he ultimately won, establishing that Slater’s vendetta was based entirely on lies.

This is a story about an egregious use of a powerful social media tool that allowed itself to be used as the weapon in someone else’s personal vendetta, to spread untruth and ruin a life.

The system – of law enforcement, justice, and privacy protection – didn’t work well for Matt. Whale Oil explores the fact that we’re the first ‘google’ generation, and have a lot to learn about how to protect ourselves, and how to treat others, with all this power and information, news and fake news, at our fingertips..


Newsroom – ‘Where Only Trolls and the Misshapen Go’, review by Finlay Macdonald

The Spinoff: ‘The 10 most shocking moments in the blistering new book Whale Oil’, by Sam Brooks

NZ Herald: ‘Big Read: Book reveals Whaleoil blogger’s torment of family – and the fight to expose the truth’, by David Fisher

Radio New Zealand: ‘New book looks at battle between Slater and Blomfield’

TVNZ One News, Breakfast with John Campbell: ‘New book looks at ‘campaign of hatred’ by Whale Oil blogger that resulted in $70k defamation penalty’

RNZ Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan: ‘Matt Blomfield: Seven years of hell at the hands of Whale Oil’

TVNZ One News: ‘Customs refuse to reveal details about alleged passenger search involving new Whale Oil book’

NZ Herald: ‘Revealed: Book exposes how Whaleoil blogger’s campaign spilled from internet into the real world and took a heavy toll’, by David Fisher

Stuff: ‘New book lifts lid on Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s dirty tactics’

YourNZ: So what is the ‘Whale Oil’ book about?’, by Pete George

The Standard: ‘Whale Oil – the book’, by Lynn Prentice

Statement from Matt Blomfield on ‘Whale Oil’ book, on YourNZ