Dutch man denies luring British woman to Amsterdam for 'pull a pig' joke
A young Dutch man made world news this week after a woman from Britain accused him in British media of luring her to Amsterdam simply to pull a prank on her. 21-year-old Jesse Mateman from Doetinchem denies that this is what happened. "She made it up", he said to Metro.
The young woman in question, 24-year-old Sophie Stevenson of Stoke, England, told British tabloid The Sun that she and Jesse met each other in Barcelona, shortly after a terrorist attack on Ramblas two months ago. The two comforted each other and had a summer romance, she said. After they went home, they kept contact and were discussing starting a long distance relationship, according to Sophie. He finally convinced her to travel to Amsterdam. Six hours after she landed at Schiphol Airport, she got a message from him reading: "You were pigged. It was all a joke."
"I waited at the airport for two and a half hours. I was a mess, feeling absolutely petrified and crying my eyes out", Sophie said to the tabloid. "He finally messaged me back. At first I thought he's going to tell me something happened and he's on his way. Then I opened the messaged and it said you've been pigged."
According to British media, the 'pull a pig game' is a kind of challenge in which men are dared to pick up a fat or ugly girl.
Jesse told Metro that the young woman is making it all up. "That whole story is completely invented", he said to the Dutch newspaper. "I don't know that game, and neither does anyone around me. I'm being completely destroyed here." He added that after website Geenstijl reported on the matter, he and his family were threatened. "It's a witchhunt."
He confirms that they met in Barcelona, but denies any form of Romance. They had a one night stand in her hotel room, he didn't even spend the night, he said to Metro. "We are and were not a couple in love, as is being suggested. No newspaper from England called me for a response. The messages in the tabloids were made by either Sophie or the newspapers, because I didn't send them." Jesse said. "After Barcelona, I did not have any telephone contact with her."
According to media lawyer Roel Maalderink, this is a classic case of online shaming - someone's reputation being ruined by a large group of people online. "One of the dangers is that the crowd puts the wrong identity to the person responsible for an action", he said to NOS. "Another danger of online shaming is that people can goad each other to the point that they physically do something to the person in question or those around him." Victims of online shaming also sometimes find it difficult to find a job, become socially isolated or get psychological problems.
Maalderink thinks its too late for Jesse to do anything about this. "Even if the story turns out not to be true, his name and several pictures are already on the internet." He told NOS that Sophie's decision to tell her story is brave. "But it also makes her vulnerable, because her full name and photos are also online."