Did you know that a bunch of men liked to get together and tickle each other? They tie each other up and tickle one another and often pay young ‘athletic’ men to endure prolonged tickling at the hands of numerous other men. A few years ago David Farrier decided to shoot a documentary about this, uh, ‘competitive’ sport when he was met with a bizarre sort of resistance.
One man emailed Farrier and told him he didn’t want to be associated with a “homosexual” journalist because it might tarnish the reputation of this “passionately and exclusively heterosexual athletic endurance activity”. Pretty soon the filmmaker started to receive an increasing barrage of digital abuse, harassment and full-on death threats. It seems that the man-on-man tickling community was concerned that David was making them look gay.
Bearing in mind this is an industry which specifically recruits “lean muscular TICKLISH GUYS (18-25)” so that they can be restrained and tickled while it’s recorded and put on the internet. Behind these competitions is the Jane O’Brien production company and the documentary Tickled details how bizarre this organisation really is, with strange twists and turns that show the complicated relationship between the company, it’s stars, and the tickling fetish.