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A social media campaign to identify the person responsible for filming the now infamous video of disgraced Sydney Roosters co-captain Mitchell Pearce may have targeted the wrong man.
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Mitchell Pearce fronts the media
Mitchell Pearce makes a brief statement apologising for his drunken behaviour caught on camera on Australia Day.
After a brief statement apologising for his drunken behaviour, Pearce left the country on Friday to enter an undisclosed overseas rehabilitation clinic.
As details surrounding the Australia Day incident continued to unfold, a number of media outlets named a marketing executive "Jack", declaring him the man responsible for filming a drunken Pearce making an unwanted pass at a woman and simulating a sex act with a small dog, before selling it to media outlets.
The release of the man's name online spurred a series of hate-filled tweets on Twitter, with some calling him a "grub" and encouraging others to "rip to him" as he was "exposed."
However, in a statement sent to Fairfax Media by well-known Sydney PR agent Roxy Jacenko, the identified individual said he did not film the video and would be defending the allegations.
"I have not met Mitchell Pearce, I was not present at the party when Mr Pearce was filmed, I deny filming Mr Pearce performing the act, I deny sending any of the subject text messages or participating in any sale of the subject video file," the statement said.
"I have appointed a legal team who will be handling the matter from here on & will defend the claim and allegations made against me in their entirety. There will be no further comment from me."
The NRL integrity unit is investigating the veracity of a series of texts circulating on social media detailing Pearce's alleged behaviour during the Australia Day festivities. The text make references to "liney lineys", which could be a reference to cocaine, but police are not currently investigating the matter.
"Police have not received any reports in relation to the matters documented in the text message screen shot," a police spokesperson said. "Police encourage anyone with information about criminal behaviour to report the matter to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via the Crime Stoppers online reporting page."
It's understood the drug reference does not fall within ASADA's mandate, as the substance was not used in competition and cocaine is not classified as performance enhancing.
The Roosters will have the first opportunity to sanction Pearce, although the NRL can impose further punishments if they are deemed insufficient. It is expected the NSW playmaker will be stripped of the captaincy and fined a substantial sum, although it is unclear how long a suspension he will receive.