Police Officer Who Bullied Girl for Blowing Bubbles Sues YouTube for Defamation
Constable Adam Josephs has earned online notoriety and the nickname “Officer Bubbles” thanks to the above video, in which he was caught reacting disproportionately to a young woman blowing bubbles at a protest of Toronto’s G20 summit earlier this year. Actual quote: “If the bubble touches me, you’re going to be arrested for assault.” It’s also led to a trend on YouTube: One or more users of the free online animation program Go! Animate have created a series of cartoons ridiculing “Officer Bubbles” as a heavy-handed law enforcer, arresting, among other figures, Santa Claus and Barack Obama. (You can see one such cartoon below.)
As a result, Josephs is suing YouTube for defamation, to the tune of $1.2 million.
In his statement of claim, Constable Josephs alleges the cartoons have subjected him to ridicule, and have resulted in threats against himself and his family. He also seeks to compel YouTube to reveal the identities of the person who created and posted the cartoon – identified by the moniker “ThePMOCanada” – and the identities of several people who posted comments in response.
On Friday, his lawyer said the lawsuit was in its preliminary stages and he was still in discussions with YouTube to resolve it.
“This level of ridicule goes beyond what is reasonable,” James Zibarras said. “The reason we brought the lawsuit is that people have the right to protect themselves against this kind of harassment.”
YouTube has already removed many of the cartoons in question, but they’ve simply been reposted to a new account (see below); even if these are taken down, the videos are already out there. Thanks to a little something called the Streisand effect, they’re likely to get a much larger viewership now.
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