An Experience of Criminal Harassment

In 2020 I became the victim of a campaign of online criminal harassment and defamation. Someone who I had never met was posting slanderous accusations about me and hundreds of others on the internet.

For over ten years, members of my family had been victims of a noted cyber criminal, Nadire Atas. She posted thousands of attacks containing unfounded slander on ‘complaint sites’. Atas targeted me after connecting me with family – following two appearances as a commentator on CBC, first on Victory in Europe Day, second on Canada and the UN Security Council.

I’m happy to say that with the support of law enforcement and many others, this matter is nearing resolution.

Others had long resisted Atas’ campaign in online posts and in court. In 2018 the Ontario Superior Court named Atas a Vexatious Litigant. The same year a group of 45 victims brought a defamation case against Atas. On 28 January 2021, the Ontario Superior Court found in favour of the plaintiffs against Atas. In fact, the case expanded the common law to create the new tort of online harassment in Ontario.

In October 2020 I spoke with New York Times reporter Kashmir Hill about my experience. On 30 January 2021, the New York Times published Kashmir Hill’s article. Hill’s brave work outlined the full breadth and tragedy surrounding Atas’ life and actions.

The New York Times and Hill shared the piece on Twitter where it got notable attention. I shared the article and asked readers to support my reputation management efforts by supporting me on twitter, on Instagram, on LinkedIn, and by visiting matthefler.com. I also discussed my experience on CBC Mainstreet NS with Jeff Douglas with host Preston Mulligan.

On 9 February Hill reported that Ms. Atas had been arrested and charged by Toronto Police. Atas is forbidden from accessing the internet.

On 6 April, Hill was on the NYT's the Daily speaking to the general story.