Adam Josephs is his real name, but these days he's better known as Officer Bubbles. That's of course due to his now famous "you touch me with that bubble and you're going into custody" performance during G20, which gained worldwide noteriety on YouTube.
Following the viral video of Bubbles, there came the cartoon satires, depicting the angry officer in other scenarios.
Chris Richards, a 46-year-old welder from Parkdale who also rescues homeless cats, saw one of the cartoons and left a comment on it.
Now Josephs is suing YouTube, the maker of the cartoon, and also trying to sue Richards and some 23 other commenters for defamation.
Here, he gives NOW Magazine an idea of why he left the comment, why he's going public, and why he's not scared of Bubbles.
Why did you leave that comment? Were you a protester?
I only made one comment about the whole "Officer Bubbles" incident, and it was in the comments section of the cartoon spoof.
I was not a protester at the G20, in fact I wasn't in Toronto at all that weekend. I watched it on a TV in Peterborough.
But I've lived on Queen West for over 20 years - half my life. Queen and Spadina is like my backyard.
So watching all of the craziness on TV was pretty surreal - the idiots smashing windows and setting police cars on fire on the first day with not a billion dollar security officer in sight. And then the massive overcompensation for the rest of the summit - the kettling, the snatch and grabs, the "secret law", individual incidents like the one with the man with the artificial leg or the TTC driver or the journalist being assaulted, and so on and so on and so on...
Then I saw the infamous "Officer Bubbles" footage, and to be honest, I thought it was pretty tame compared to a lot of things that happened.
I mean, he didn't pepper spray her, shoot rubber bullets or tear gas at her, he didn't punch her or hit her with a billy club - all he did was overreact to the bubbles. I thought his aggro level was several notches too high, and the female officer seemed to be handling the situation just fine on her own anyway.
But what really pissed me off enough to comment was when someone pointed out that on Officer Josephs' Facebook page, he listed under 'Employer', "City of Toronto 2007-present ; I collect Human garbage". That really pissed me off. I thought, "holy sh*t, what an asshole!"
Once I read that, I saw the incident in a completely different way, and when I saw the cartoon I thought it was a brilliant little piece of satire, so I commented. Spur of the moment thing.
Is this typical of your comments online or on YouTube?
Not at all. On YouTube, I just pretty much chat about Japanese pop music videos. That's really the only reason I even have an account. It's a distraction and nothing more. Fun.
Why aren't you worried about the legal ramifications of doing this interview?
Well, I don't think I've done anything illegal, so as far as I'm concerned, there are no legal ramifications.
I mean, this was a big story at the time. Unfortunately, it was a bigger story than G20 itself and all the issues surrounding it. But for whatever reason, this bubbles thing became a big deal and everyone on the planet seemed to have an opinion about who was right and who was wrong, whether she was out of line and "baiting" the police, or whether he was out of line and power tripping, and so on.
After seeing the "Human Garbage Collector" bit on Facebook, I pretty much fell on the side that felt he was out of line. I saw the animated spoof, chuckled, commented, and moved on. But I certainly didn't "defame" anyone, I just stated an opinion, which, as far as know, is still legal in this country.
If this does go to court, what is your defense?
My defense? I don't know....not guilty? I mean, I made a comment in the comments section of a satirical cartoon on YouTube. I expressed an opinion. I didn't threaten or defame of slander anyone. I didn't taunt and mock this person mercilessly for days or weeks or months on end. I made a comment and moved on.
would you say to Bubbles if you had a one-on-one with him right now?
I'd like to know why, of all the comments that were made on YouTube and all over the internet, why single out the few people who made some relatively benign comments under the cartoons for a "defamation" lawsuit? I don't understand that part of it at all.
And I'd suggest he take a well deserved vacation. Someplace warm and sunny and relaxing. And I'd suggest to him that whoever's brilliant idea it was that this lawsuit idea would make his life easier should be scratched off his Christmas list, because from what I understand, the cartoons are back with a vengeance, the story's gone viral bigger than the original, and the comments are way worse than anything anyone named in the lawsuit wrote.
Knowing now as you do that Bubbles would come after you, would you post the comment again?
Knowing that I'd be threatened with legal action?....I'd still write what I wrote, and I'd have written it whether I was using my real name or an alias.
There's this notion kicking around that people only say what they do online because they're "cloaked in anonymity" or some such bullshit. Maybe that's true in some cases, but not in all, and certainly not in mine.
I'm a big fan of free speech, free expression, freedom of the press, all that good stuff. I've never been shy about expressing my opinions. If I'd actually slandered someone, or defamed them or whatever, that would be different. But I didn't.
These days it seems there are people crawling out of the woodwork to ban this, censor that, sue this person for expressing some unpopular opinion or for publishing a cartoon - and it comes from both the left and the right, and I find it all very unsettling. So yes, I'd still say it. My tiny contribution, I guess.