Stab Magazine | Otis Carey sues Nationwide News

And The Winners Of The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Are... Watch The Pick-Up Episode 5, Presented by Vans, To Find Out


Otis Carey sues Nationwide News

Story by Lucas Townsend It’s the story that keeps on giving for all the wrong reasons. Otis Carey is suing Nationwide News, a subsidiary of News Corp Australia, over their reportage of a Surfing Life article written by Nathan Myers. The Daily Telegraph, an Australian tabloid newspaper, reported on March 12 that the allegedly racist […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Story by Lucas Townsend

It’s the story that keeps on giving for all the wrong reasons. Otis Carey is suing Nationwide News, a subsidiary of News Corp Australia, over their reportage of a Surfing Life article written by Nathan Myers.

The Daily Telegraph, an Australian tabloid newspaper, reported on March 12 that the allegedly racist story printed in the March edition of Surfing Life (owned by Morrison Media) had left Otis “devastated.”

However, they broke the golden rule of covering defamatory leads (as did the cowboy journalists of the whole internets), and that is to never repeat the comments in question. They are now being sued by Otis and his counsel over defamatory statements made in the March 12 print edition and the story on the Daily Telegraph website. Rewriting the defamation is defamation all over again. We can’t tell you exactly what the words are for fear of a similar fate, but you’re not ignorant; poke around and you shall find. Otis could be suing for up to $750,000 (the district court only deals with cases up to that amount).

Carey, Stab readers will remember, initially levied a lawsuit against Surfing Life and Myers in April. There was the backhanded apology letter from Myers, published on The Inertia. Then an apology from Myers apologising about the backhandedness of his first apology (which has now been removed). While this all feels like a comedy of errors, interestingly Peter Morrison hasn’t set foot inside a courtroom and Stab understands the matter is in the final stages of a private settlement where Morrison Media is concerned.

A defamation case has never exploded in our sport like this. Following the Daily Telegraph’s publication the story went viral; The UK’s Daily Mail, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, all published versions of events. Comment boards lit up, but opinion was divided: Some applauded Otis for defending his heritage. Many were baffled that a writer in 2014 could describe someone the way Myers did. And some questioned Otis’ motives.

Most people thought this case had been put to bed, but it hasn’t. It’s gotten bigger. It’s now proceeding through the District Court in Sydney with a different defendant in the seat.

Otis has chosen to take on a roided bull here. Nationwide News is a part of the global Murdoch empire – an empire that’s renowned for taking no prisoners when it comes to a legal stoush. They don’t roll over. Any company with an internal legal department ain’t shy of a court brawl over a story.

Following the first court appearance, on June 20, Nationwide News applied for a dismissal of Otis’ Statement Of Claim – the document with all the bad things Nationwide News is supposed to have done – and included five imputations. Imputation is based on ignorance as an unacceptable excuse, so it explains the reasons Nationwide News are being held liable, even if they were unaware of Otis’ heritage and how their actions could be damaging because of their interpretation.

That was refused by the judge, however, and Otis’ legal counsel was ordered to amend their imputations. Otis was back in court on July 11 with reworded imputations. But they were struck out again. Worse yet, Otis is already shelling out coin and was ordered to “pay the defendants’ costs of the argument.” He filed a further statement of claim last Friday, put plans in motion to see the matter decided before a jury, and now we wait for Nationwide News to return serve with their defence.

The story was empathetic of Carey. The journalist spoke with Otis’ father, Chris, who said they were concerned only with supporting him, and re-quoted Otis speaking proudly of his Indigenous background. Similarly to Nathan Myers’ gushing praise of Otis in all parts of his original article outside of a comparison that should never have been written. Journalism can be a minefield and Myers’ error of judgement has now rippled in a way it never should’ve.

The Daily Telegraph reported a rumour that Otis had made contact with AFL player, Adam Goodes, following the SL article. Goodes was racially vilified by a 13-year-old girl crowd member during the Indigenous Round of AFL season. He was visibly shaken by the slur, pointed the girl out to staff and left the field before the full time siren. Goodes went public. He took to radio, television and print to reiterate how rife racism still remained. He didn’t persecute anyone, but had a whole country talking. Better yet, he had them understanding.

But we haven’t heard one comment, statement or even peep from Otis. Sure, his legal advice is probably telling him not to. But with a passionate surfing community waiting reason, sometimes silence isn’t the best reply to a fool.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Stab Surfer of the Year: John John Florence, Italo Ferreira, Balaram Stack, Rolo Montes, and Shaun Manners

Day 9: "You can't do better than his year last year." - John John Florence

Jan 28, 2023

Full Moon Surfs, Impassable Puddles, And A Few Nights Spent Sleeping In A WSL Commentary Booth

A reader-submitted collection of nonconformist surf stories.

Jan 27, 2023

Carissa Moore And Finn McGill Are Your 2023 Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Champions 

They both pocket $50k and tickets to this year’s Vans Pipe Masters.

Jan 27, 2023


The Pick-Up, Presented By Vans, Episode 5

Mason Ho helps us ring in our final week on the North Shore.

Jan 27, 2023

Goofyfoot Brazilian World Champion Stars In Stab’s Biggest Board-Testing Franchise

Can you guess who?

Jan 26, 2023

Surf Community Rallies To Raise Funds For Eddie Winner And On-Duty Hawaiian Lifeguard Luke Shepardson

Because it's the right thing to do, of course.

Jan 26, 2023

Interview: Caity Simmers On Machete Wars, Rihanna, Personal Project Problems, And The Rise Of Female Surf Content. 

A toast to ‘Toasted.’

Jan 25, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: Creed McTaggart, Albee Layer, Laura Enever, Dane Guduaskas, and Selema Masekela

Day 8: "65 years young and charging just as hard as ever at Pipe, Backdoor,…

Jan 25, 2023

“I’m Not A Big Wave Guy”

How Kai Paula accidentally made his mark at Jaws three weeks after surfing it for…

Jan 24, 2023

Everyone Went.

A toes in the sand, phone in the lagoon account of the 10th Eddie Aikau…

Jan 24, 2023

Breaking: Another CT Rookie Injured Before First Event

Sophie McCulloch pulls out of Pipeline due to Snapper Rocks snafu.

Jan 23, 2023


Watch: ‘Toasted,’ By Caity Simmers

Your favorite surfer directs, edits, and stars in her first feature film. 

Jan 23, 2023

On-Duty North Shore Lifeguard Luke Shepardson Wins The Eddie Aikau

Local man prevails over 39 big-wave heavyweights at 29ft @ 19 seconds Waimea.

Jan 23, 2023

The Eddie Aikau Invitational Is On

Grab a beverage and enjoy surfing's Super Bowl Sunday

Jan 22, 2023

The Women’s CT Is About To See A Generational Shift 

Only three women have won a Title in the past 15 years. Here's why that's…

Jan 22, 2023


“One For Marcio” – Albee Layer’s Tribute To Mad Dog

Imagine treating 30ft Jaws like Backdoor.

Jan 22, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: Noa Deane, Jamie O’Brien, Parker Coffin, Cliff Kapono, and Brendan Buckley

Day 7: "It's like he feels more comfortable when it’s as gnarly as it gets."…

Jan 21, 2023

Five Reasons Why The Eddie Still Matters

With better waves around the world and likely no prize money, why is The Eddie…

Jan 20, 2023