Over the last few days, headlines were telling of an “explicit”, “compromising” video circulating online that appeared to show a football player in bed with a woman.
While it had reportedly been shopped around multiple media outlets, none chose to publish it, nor to name the famous sportsman involved. But while news outlets were staying tight-lipped, the footage was being spread widely via social media. Too wide, too fast to contain.
Dragged out in the open, the man in the footage had no choice but to respond, and did so on Thursday night. That man is former AFL star Dane Swan.
Who is Dane Swan?
With 258 games, 211 goals, the 2010 premiership and a Brownlow Medal under his belt, Dane Swan is considered a legend of the Collingwood Football Club.
The 34-year-old retired from the sport in 2016 after suffering a significant foot injury in the opening round of the competition, and since stepping off the field has become a regular guest panellist on the AFL Footy Show. In 2017, he also appeared on Channel 10 reality program I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, where he finished runner-up to singer Casey Donovan.
By his side through it all has been his partner of ten years, American-born Taylor Wilson.
What is on the Dane Swan 'sex tape'?
It remains unclear when the footage was taken, or by whom. Nor is it clear who distributed it online.
A Fox Sports reporter, who viewed 15 seconds of the footage, said it "shows Swan naked and in bed with a woman before he shields his face from the light attached to the camera". The Age reported that the footballer can be seen kissing the woman; "the kissing is clearly consensual and both parties seem aware that they are being filmed," the outlet reported.
How has Dane Swan responded to the leaked video?
In a statement released to The AFL Footy Show on Thursday night, Swan dismissed claims the clip was a "sex tape" but said its release still constituted a "gross breach" of his privacy.
"Although the video was taken a long time ago, it has been posted and distributed only recently. It was taken and distributed without my consent. The distribution is a gross breach of my privacy," the statement read.
"As it is illegal to distribute such material online without consent, I have reported the matter to the police who are investigating the distribution. As the matter is under investigation I have no further comment at this time and I ask that my privacy be respected.”
What is the fallout from the footage?
According to The Herald Sun, Victoria Police are investigating the publication of the tape after being contacted by Swan on Wendesday.
“Prahran police are investigating after a video was distributed electronically and online,” a police spokesman told the paper. “The video was posted without consent.
“As the investigation is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Under Victorian law, it is illegal to intentionally distribute an intimate image of a person without their consent. The offence carries a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison.
Footy Show host Sam Newman described the leaking and sharing of the footage as "disgraceful" and said the law should "come down heavily" on those responsible.
“You should have no problem with Dane Swan. The person you should be speaking to and vehemently attacking is the person that let that video go,” Newman told 3AW. “He has done absolutely nothing wrong. The only person he has to square anything away with, like any of these things, are his closest friends or partner or whatever."