'I regret reporting it': Man who witnessed Aaron Smith toilet incident apologises to star after 'scary backlash'
Published 12/10/2016 | 14:55
The fallout to All Black Aaron Smith's suspension has continued today after the man who witnessed the scrum-half enter an airport toilet with a 'female friend' released a statement apologising for coming forward.
The man, who remained nameless, told the Stuff website in New Zealand that the negative backlash to the incident has been 'very, very scary'.
The man, who was with his wife, saw Smith enter a disabled toilet cubicle at Christchurch Airport. When the story became public, the rugby star tearfully apologised and was given a one game suspension.
Speaking to Stuff earlier today, he revealed that his family are fearful for their safety after receiving negative attention online.
"You can probably guess how much of a safety threat now it would be if we were identified," the witness said.
"We have had a lot of (negative) attention this past week which is very, very scary.
"I regret reporting it because it has had a much more serious outcome than expected. I feel the need to apologise because I do not think Smith has deserved this much trouble. A slap on the hand was probably sufficient. We were expecting, at most, a tiny side article that no one would hardly even see."
The man also revealed that he and his wife were split on reporting the incident, and she thinks the couple were right to come forward.