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Anti-vaxxers abuse and threaten wrong person by mistake

UPDATE 10.30am: THE Northern Rivers physiotherapist who has been mistakenly "outed" as a pro-vaccination blogger and thorn in the anti-vaccination movement's side, has admitted he has been struggling with the harassment he has received.

Peter Tiernan, who works at Ballina Hospital, was recently named as the identity of Reasonable Hank, a prolific blogger in the vaccination debate, on an anti-vaccination Facebook group.

The problem is, Mr Tiernan is not Reasonable Hank.

The hell began nearly two weeks ago when Mr Tiernan's wife received a message on Facebook from a woman stating they needed to talk to her about her husband, Mr Tiernan told The Northern Star.

Then the phone calls to his work began.

Followers of the anti-vaccination movement then began trying to 'friend' members of Mr Tiernan's family and friends on Facebook.

Then began the anonymous phone calls to Mr Tiernan himself.

The phone callers knew a frightening amount of information about Mr Tiernan - not only did they know his phone number, but they knew how many children he had, where he worked, when he took a day off work sick.

Mr Tiernan said anti-vaccination advocates had been calling his workplace, posing as media, or as clients trying to set up an appointment with him.

He has had to shut down his Facebook page and change his phone number due to the unwarranted attention.

Despite all of this, and Mr Tiernan's reassurances that he is not Reasonable Hank, the harassment won't stop.

"That's the first I've ever heard of Reasonable Hank," he said.

"They wouldn't believe that I'm not this person.

"A friend said to me 'If I was looking for a blogger you'd be the least likely candidate'," he laughed.

"I'm just interested in going for a surf."

Mr Tiernan admitted he'd been "struggling a bit with it".

"There were a couple of nights I didn't sleep," he said.

"It really only takes one nutter to say well we know who this guy is, public enemy number one, let's go and do something about it."

He has now been in contact with the police, who are doing what they can to track down the perpetrators of the harassment, while calls for him at the Ballina Hospital are being screened.

"I don't like these people being referred to as keyboard warriors when they're really keyboard cowards hiding behind anonymity and unknown numbers.

"If this is an indication of their research skills… well it's a total fabrication."

Due to the situation at hand, Mr Tiernan has actually been put into contact with the actual Reasonable Hank, Peter Tierney.

"He's gotten private messages with my photo and then pretty much telling him that they know who he is," Mr Tiernan said.

One particular blogger, Sydney naturopath Brett Smith wrote on his blog: "Now like most effective Pharma trolls and cowards, of course, he had to remain anonymous. You can't spend your entire waking life slandering all of these poor vaccine damaged families and also have the courage to do it under your own name. So no, Hank, in a crafty bit of wordsmanship altered his name from Peter Tiernan to Peter Tierney. Nice one Shank. nudge nudge wink wink."

He told The Sunday Telegraph he stood by his investigative skills: "I got the right man. Poor Hank has no idea I've spoken with 'both' people, you can quote me on that," Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith has promised to reveal on Wednesday that Mr Tiernan really is Reasonable Hank, and said that if he can't, he will get his children vaccinated.

Mr Tiernan said he couldn't imagine how Mr Smith planned on "revealing" him, since he wasn't Reasonable Hank at all.

 

MONDAY 6.45am: A NORTHERN Rivers physiotherapist has reportedly found himself the target of abuse and threats from anti-vaccination advocates after being wrongly targeted as a pro-vaccination blogger.

The Daily Telegraph report that activists believe, due to an ill-informed social media post, that Peter Tiernan, a Byron Shire medical professional, is Reasonable Hank, a pro-vaccination blogger who has been enraging the anti-vaxxers for years.

Mr Tiernan, who states he is not and never has been Reasonable Hank, told the Daily Telegraph that he was being bombarded by threatening calls and messages and feared "one absolute nutter" could attack him or his family.

"It started with a message on Facebook messenger to my wife that they needed to discuss something about her husband, then it was phone calls at work," Mr Tiernan said.

"They are sending private messages to me with my profile picture saying we know who you are and where I live and where my kids go to school.

"They sent messages knowing the day I had off from work and they have called my work.

"I've gone to police but they are not interested. I've had lots of calls with number withheld. One woman said they had been around to my house, they say they are going to expose me but it's a monumental case of mistaken identity but that is the quality of their research."

Mr Tiernan has had to take down his Facebook page and change his phone number.

"All it takes is one absolute nutter to believe all this stuff," Mr Tiernan said.

However, the Daily Telegraph reported, the real Reasonable Hank was Peter Tierney, not Peter Tiernan.

Mr Tierney, aka Reasonable Hank, has been blogging and exposing the cruel trolling of bereaved parents, alerting authorities to fraudulent behaviour and, most recently, outing nurses who are spreading anti-vax misinformation in hospitals, which has led to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia clamping down on such nurses.

For this, Mr Tierney has received hundreds of death threats, as anti-vaxxers tried to uncover his real identity.

The group Anti-Vaccination Australia thought they have struck gold when they found Peter Tiernan, the Byron Bay physiotherapist, who, although pro vaccination, The Daily Telegraph reported, has never stuck his head up on the issue.

Belgin Colak pronounced on the Anti-Vaccination Australia Facebook site under the heading Urgent Public Announcement: "We give great pleasure in announcing that after several weeks of investigation we have found and located 'Reasonable Hank'.

"We urge all people from Byron Bay to be aware he does work at Ballina Hospital and is unfortunately in the heart of most of us anti-vaxxers, reporting and vilifying us over the last 7 years.

"We are now in the process of organising a class action against him".

The post was accompanied by photos of Peter Tiernan and his wife.

Sydney naturopath Brett Smith wrote on his blog: "Now like most effective Pharma trolls and cowards, of course, he had to remain anonymous. You can't spend your entire waking life slandering all of these poor vaccine damaged families and also have the courage to do it under your own name. So no, Hank, in a crafty bit of wordsmanship altered his name from Peter Tiernan to Peter Tierney. Nice one Shank. nudge nudge wink wink."

He told The Sunday Telegraph he stood by his investigative skills: "I got the right man. Poor Hank has no idea I've spoken with 'both' people, you can quote me on that," Mr Smith said.

Mr Tierney, aka Reasonable Hank, told the media he had chosen to remain anonymous for good reason.

"Very deliberately there are no public photos of me because the threats have escalated over the years," he said.

"One has said: 'I'm going to come and kill your whole family' another said he was going to strangle me and others have said: 'Guess what, we know where you live'. Now they are sending messages to my inbox including the photo of Peter Tiernan, they've sent that as a threat to say we know what you look like.

"I'm speechless at how stupid they are, but it's taken a sinister turn and they don't care about verifying facts but they have singled out a completely innocent man and his family."

Police are investigating the threats.

Topics:  anti-vaccination anti-vaxxers vaccination



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