Constable Adam Josephs, whose nickname has become “Officer Bubbles” after he was filmed harassing and threatening a woman for blowing bubbles (see video above), is now suing YouTube claiming that he’s the victim. What’s the cause of harassment? Animation.
Apparently, a filmmaker posted animated videos on YouTube that satirically depict Josephs abusing his power in other ways besides blowing up over bubbles. According to an article in the Globe and Mail:
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.
The animations in question depict a policeman identified as “A. Josephs” arresting various people — including Barack Obama and Santa Claus — and beating up a news photographer while funk music plays in the background.
The YouTube account has already been shut down and the videos have been removed from their site. Whether YouTube or the maker of the films removed them, I find the situation to be unfortunate. The type of social commentary in those animated films should never be silenced under threat, and YouTube’s decision to cave in to an irrational lawsuit sends a chilling message to animators and political cartoonists who post their work onto the site.
In the 1800s, cartoonists like Honoré Daumier in France and José Guadalupe Posada in Mexico were jailed for lampooning political figures. Those days were supposed to be long gone in civilized countries, but one police officer in Canada wants to keep persecuting artists and stifling artistic expression by threats of financial harm and judicial intimidation.
Constable Adam Josephs works in Toronto’s 52 Division. You can place a complaint over his bullying behavior with the 52â€²s Community Relations Officer Constable Michael Moffatt at (416) 808-5291.
UPDATE: Somebody posted all of the Officer Bubbles videos onto YouTube again. They were all created with a free on-line animation program called Go! Animate. Go Animate! has also removed all the Officer Bubbles videos from their site. Crude as the cartoons are, they are quite effective works of satire. We’ve previously reported about easy-to-use web animation software, and an incident like this will only bring more attention to the potential of such products and the continuing democratization of the animation process.