Brian Edwards Media

Reflections on a disturbing story in the Herald on Sunday

Borjan Dzarliev

Borjan Dzarliev

First read this story from today’s Herald on Sunday.

So how might we categorise Borjan Dzarliev, his mate‘Charlie’, the anonymous third party who filmed this outrage and their thousands of on-line accomplices?  Well, you might take your pick from: Abusers, Bullies, Misogynists, Sadists, Pornographers, Psychopaths, Cowards…

I was particularly interested in the personality of Borjan Dzarliev, ‘a student from Browns Bay’,  who, the Herald on Sunday reports: ‘… in the video throws in her face a dress he claims she left at his house, then launches a foul-mouthed verbal attack’. ‘Coward’ seems to fit him to a T. It’s two on one, after all. Two men, one woman. And a cameraman or woman to record the fun. Rapists in all but the precise technical meaning of the word.  

And when he’s asked if he regrets the video, Borjan Dzarliev says he’s talked to his victim and hopes they’re ‘on better terms’. It’s hard to reconcile the barbarity of his earlier actions with a term which seems to suggest some previous minor tiff. ‘Better terms’ than what?

And then, to add insult to injury, a hint of resentment or perhaps even self pity: ‘This has gone too far. I really don’t want to say any more.’ Which seems to beg the question: ‘At what precise point, Borjan, are you saying it went too far? When you effectively abducted Courtney Drake? When you launched into your foul-mouthed attack on her? When you were videotaping her terror? When you posted her humiliation on You Tube? Or only when your own name and actions were about to be exposed in the media?’ I suspect it’s the last of these.

Well, my interest in Borjan Dzarliev led me to look for him this morning on Facebook. And there he was, under his own name, with photographs of himself and his many Facebook friends.

In the early afternoon, I thought I might write this post. So I went back to Facebook, typed his name again in the ‘Search’ box and found myself back on the identical site. But by now ‘Borjan Dzarliev’ had become ‘Borjan Alexander’. And if you type in Borjan Dzarliev on Facebook now, this is what you’ll find:


Seems that Borjan couldn’t stand the heat. The same Borjan of whose actions Sean Lyon, the chief technology officer at NetSafe, had said: ‘It is excruciating. It is horrible abuse caught on camera and the girl looks very scared. It is awful in the extreme and the whole thing was clearly filmed by a third individual, which makes it all the more disturbing.’

But the most disturbing thing to me in the Herald’s report is Dzarliev’s comment that he hoped he and Courtney were ‘on better terms’. My advice to Ms Drake would be: Before you have anything more to do with Borjan Dzarliev or your former boyfriend ‘Charlie’ have a serious chat with Women’s Refuge. It could save your life.’

, , , , ,


  1. Depraved, is the word that most immediately springs to my mind.
    As the mother of a teenaged girl, I thank you for your thoughts, Brian. Unfortunately, your efforts will do little to change the culture of a place (the internet) where anyone can show anything they want and bear no consequences no matter the consequence to their victims.

    • It’s not true there are no consequences since the law still applies so long as people can be identified and national jurisdiction pertains. It sounds as though the police are investigating. Or the victim could take a civil case against the perpetrators.

      • I agree with you Alan that the impression is that the Police are investigating. I hope so. The law on this is fairly clear (although not as comprehensive as it ought to be) and the facts don’t seem to be in dispute. The irony is that the perpetrators seem to have themselves provided most of the evidence which might be used against them in any case pursued. But I do wish that people would not glibly say that those affected by actions of this sort can take a civil case. I daresay they might be able to but the obstacles to doing so are numerous and hard to surmount. The most important of these is money. As someone once sagely remarked the law is like the Ritz Hotel – anyone can go and stay there. Not to mention the traumas associated with having to relive the experience again and again at each stage of the proceedings. Consider the case of the dismissed News Editor of RNZ. It has taken her ten years to get to the point at which the rights and wrongs of the dismissal itself can be actually considered, notwithstanding that her husband is a lawyer and they apparently have several million dollars to spend on pursuing their concerns to date


          I agree Tony that the legal remedy in principle is often inaccessible in practice. IMHO the court system is long, long overdue for reform. We should allow private enterprise to innovate and compete to get huge efficiencies and far better customer service.

          • Are you kidding? Private enterprise? Dog eat dog is what got us into this mess. The net is private enterprise personified. Regulation, oversight and consequences are the far far mountains that we dream of reaching where the anarchic mayhem of the internet is concerned.

  2. I wouldn’t be so quick to judge, after watchng the video it seems to me that the girl didn’t feel guilty at all. A mere sarcastic “sorry” was her only response. The boys acted out and shouldnt have used that language, but in all fairness, untill we know both sides of the story, we will never know what really happened.

    • Well, I haven’t seen the video but Netsafe have and were horrified. And what, under the circumstances, had the girl to apologise for? I’m afraid this is classic victim-blaming or perhaps an example of the ‘Look what you made me do’ mentality.

      • The only way we can know for sure that the girl is the victim is by referring to the article, which was one side of the story.

        • For the life of me, I can’t follow your reasoning, Stan. In order not to be seen as a victim, this young woman would either have had to provoke these men in some way (in itself not a valid justification for the humiliation she was subjected to) or to have been complicit in some way in what happened to her. It simply doesn’t make sense.

  3. I hope a formal complaint is lodged with the police. These pieces of scum need maximum publicity which may save the sanity or life of a girl in the future.

  4. Good job, for outing these despicable toe rags. However, they are unlikely to feel shame or remorse. Because if they were capable of such feelings, they wouldn’t have done what they did, in the first instance.

  5. I feel this adds weight to the Law Commission’s call to have Netsafe operate as an intermediate internet watchdog between the websites and the courts with power to order take-down notices. The recommendations of the report relating to cyber-bullying were recently ignored by the government.
    Piss poor.

    • In general I don’t agree that bureaucratic censorship is the answer to abuse of freedom of speech. The proper response is critical assertion of proper values – which has evidently resulted in some self-searching reappraisal and self-censorship already.

  6. Brian, any thoughts on how easy it was – thanks to the article – to find the video?

    The article, after stating that youtube had taken it down, then went to name websites where you can easily find it.

    Yes I did look at it, and yes it’s harrowing, but I wonder whether the HoS piled on the misery by signposting where one can add themselves to the hundreds of thousands of people who’ve seen it, and no doubt quite a few more have now been alerted to its presence via the HoS…

    • Yes, I think you have a point. Of course viewing the video is not of itself the real issue. The real issue is how you react to what you’re seeing. People of conscience will be horrified. Others may not. I certainly don’t want to encourage anyone to go hunting for the video. But if there is an upside to that at all, it is the very clear picture which you get of Mr Dzarliev and his personality. Any subsequent expression of remorse from him will ring hollow in the face of his statement on the video that he really hopes it will ‘go viral’.

      • 6.1.1

        Your last sentence is a non sequitur. He may well have hoped it would go viral. He may as well now regret that sincerely and entirely having come to see the error of his ways.

        Haven’t the world seen enough foolhardy, cocky young men march off to war only to return broken, wiser and deeply regretful?

        • Maybe you at least should watch the video. Then come back and tell me whether you think this is someone prone to regret, other, that is, when his actions come back to bite him. As for your ‘non sequitur’, this isn’t a matter of logic, it’s a subjective value judgement made on the basis of my personal assessment of someone’s character. Your own ‘He may as well now regret’ is equally no better than a guess and outside the realms of logic.


            No, it’s not outside the realms of logic since it is demonstrating a logical possibility – not a prediction.

            You may be right that his character precludes remorse but neither would it surprise me if this major collision with the reality of public condemnation is somewhat transformative of even the most unpromising youth.

            • What on earth is ‘a logical possibility’. Here you’re using ‘logical’ as a synonym for ‘rational’ or ‘reasonable’. I’m talking about logical forms, like the modus ponens for example: If A then B; A therefore B. I’ll give you one more bite at this, but let’s leave it after that. It’s an unwelcome distraction from the central issue.


                We seem to be making hard work of something simple.

                You said the guy hoped the video would go viral and therefore any subsequent remorse he expressed would be hollow.

                I interpreted hollow as meaning false. (You may have actually meant it differently.)

                I said it was conceivable that, as callow youth often find, experience produces real changes in understanding and emotion. That is a logical possibility and would falsify your “Since A then B” form of original statement as it would be an instance of A but not B.

                You have moved on to imply that anyone who watches the video will not believe this character is capable of remorse.

                That becomes a subjective judgment rather than a logical deduction which the form of your original comment implied to me at least. I think we can leave it there.

  7. Given that stuff (in the form of newstories etc)stays on the Internet forever, perhaps their behaviour will come back to bite them on the bum. They may need to do a lot of explaining to people for many years to come, every time their name comes up in a search eg employers, future girlfriends, parents of potential partners etc

  8. I’ve seen the clip.

    I thought “Borjan” (based on the photo you have published above)looks more like the guy that leads Courtney into the room, rather than the foul mouthed guy doing most of the talking. If so, that is very nice of Courtney not to give his full name to The Herald. If it was me, I would have given his name, & if I knew them, the name of the person videoing & the guy wandering around in the background.He must have realised what was going on & did nothing to intervene.

    Like David, I think this could hurt these two heroes for longer than they realise.

    If Courtney was two timing – sure that’s not nice. But there are other ways they could have handled it. My choice would have been to take a photo of themselves together & email it to her with the tagline “any explanation?”

    • In the original report she states that she believed the earlier relationship was over. But it’s academic really. Nothing justifies the treatment she received.

  9. Two-timing? Who cares? Really. Who cares? These guys should’ve let her be.

  10. What!!! This wanton hussey was two-timing the guy?! Pull up the sympathy stakes and let’s go home

  11. I watched the video. Hard to comment if you haven’t seen it. What’s the problem? A girl got caught cheating on her boyfriend(s) and they decided to get back at her.
    Yeah she says she thought one of the relationships was over, but she doesn’t put up much of a fight defending herself… in fact she seems to be resigned to the fact that she got busted… and she apologises for it as well. A verbal attack? I’ve heard worse come from an elderly lady’s mouth when I accidentally cut in line at the post office.
    No one seems to be asking about the poor boys feelings of trust and love being abused. Having been on the receiving end of a whore like this, I understand that hollow feeling you are left with which is easily filled with anger. Sure, now that I am older I could probably deal with it better, but at their age I was just a wound up ball of fury trying to deal with the deceit. Thank god the Internet wasn’t what it is now.
    As for the girl- boohoo… make better choices in life.

    • Life can be full of disappointments, depending on the choices we make, however, this video which has gone viral, is a type of Cyber-Bullying and should require the intervention of the police and court. In certain countries cyber bullying is a criminal offence. I think that we in NZ are behind the times.

      Problems will occur when children try on adult activities without realising the consequences of their actions.

      • I don’t see how this is cyber bullying. What the boys did was out of anger, humiliation, stupidity etc. What she did to receive this embarrassment was due to manipulation, deceit, stupidity etc. Who is more deserving of punishment?
        The only reason the boys were ever in this position was due to her actions, therefore the only reason she has suffered this terrible embarrassment is because of what she had done. Cyber karma more like.
        I have no knowledge what so ever of the laws surrounding cyber bullying in NZ, but hope that if there were ever a need to fortify them, it would not be because of a stupid hussy’s sob story regarding a punishment she hand delivered to herself.


          It’s cyber bullying because the consequences for her seemed out of proportion to the “offense” even assuming she cheated, which she denies. She claims to have been harassed out of her job, and received calls saying she should be hunted down.

          The only reason the boys were ever in this position was due to her actions, therefore the only reason she has suffered this terrible embarrassment is because of what she had done. Cyber karma more like.

          The ‘boys’ were never in a position whereby they were forced to make what was essentially a private matter become public. They chose to do that, not Drake. I found it odd that Stan earlier had complained that the Herald article only provided “one side of the story”. The video itself was only one side of the story. The Herald allowed for a response. The ‘boys’ appear to have received some backlash after the Herald coverage – there’s your Karma.

          • The only reason the boys were ever in this position was due to her actions, therefore the only reason she has suffered this terrible embarrassment is because of what she had done.


              Nah. The ‘boys’ have agency, you see. They seem to have suffered some backlash from their actions, and that is their fault in that they chose to make this a public matter. (And that’s putting aside your assumption that their version of events is completely correct and her version totally false.)

    • So what your saying is that the boys were too immature to handle their anger and that makes it ok to bully and frighten a woman. And your rationale for this nonsense is that ‘the bitch deserved it because it happened to you’

      I hope you appreciate how emotionally retarded that sort of thinking is. I doubt it though.

      • Yes. You are correct. It happened to me and I can understand the pain they were feeliing.
        You seem to understand her side more, so I assume you have cheated on your significant other.
        That’s how this works, right?

        Also you are correct, the “boys” are “immature”. They used the tools available to them to get revenge. Do I condone what they did? No. Do I understand where the impetus came from? Hell yes!


  12. It’s the story of The Iliad. Menelaus of Sparta was so furious that another man took his wife he persuaded his brother Agamemnom to lead a Greek expedition to Troy to wreak vengeance. He went with the intention of destroying Troy and killing his wife for her abscondment. (He ends up falling in love with her again once he sees her after ten years, and bringing her home, willingly or not.) Homer describes 503 Greek deaths on the battlefield, the price of one man’s determination to redress the elopement/abduction (it depends which storyline you believe – did Cupid inspire it or was she kidnapped?). The male demand for female fidelity is archetypal. There is no knowing the form the megalomania will take (e.g. mounting an army, youtubing)once erotomania has kicked in. And Othello murdered Desdemona, but she didn’t even do it. The greats tell us about the psychological pathogens – monomania, megalomania, erotomania and paranoia that settle in once the male’s expectation of emotional fealty has been confounded (in the old-fashioned sense of the word). It seems that amidst postmodernity, where polyamory and compersion are normative sexual politics, the reptilian brain still operates. Homer and Shakespeare are still informative.

    • 12.1

      Gerard, since you’re so into Greek mytholgy, you might as well impart a biblical flavour along with the attendant behavioural corollary. Moses parted the seas, while this chick parted her legs to someone she shouldn’t have.

    • Actually the Illiad is not about that, although that’s the background. It’s about Achilles getting into a rage and killing the Trojan hero Hector because the latter had killed his boyfriend

  13. “hopes they’re on better terms” reminded me of Charles Saatchi’s “playful tiff” remark re clutching his wife’s throat.

  14. THREAD HI-JACK !!!

    This has nothing to do with the post whatsoever, but can I suggest people go to Youtube and search for “The ABC’s downfall”.

    Very funny ‘Labour leadership’ version of Hitler’s downfall clip, with Hitler as Trevor Mallard.

    • Yep, you are right, markus. Foiled!

      As johan has identified, just another case of Alan Wilkinson and I trolling to distract from the TAB, now as 8.2!


      An impertinent question: Would the outrage be the same if the genders of Borjan Dzarliev, ‘Charlie”, and Courtney Drake were reversed?

      Just asking?

  15. I see people are very confident that the police will be able to deal with this. But what criminal law has been broken? It doesn’t look like she has been abducted to me. Criminal harrassment requires a pattern of behaviour, a finding that whoever did this intended to make her fear for her safety, and (probably) that this video constituted “offensive material”.

    I’m not sure there’s a ready civil claim either. I can think of a few that might apply, but none is a slam dunk.

    The new cyber-bullying laws, set to be announced shortly, might well cover this. But I’m not sure even they would have been able to stop this video going viral.