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Officer Bubbles takes on the Internet; Internet laughs ruefully

These days, almost everyone knows Adam Josephs, a.k.a. Officer Bubbles. The Toronto cop famously threatened a bubble-blowing G20 protester with arrest while on camera, and the ensuing video unleashed a torrent of on-line criticism, mockery and—at least according to his lawyers—defamation in the form of satirical cartoons. Josephs has filed a $1.2-million lawsuit against YouTube to have his anonymous on-line tormentors unmasked.

According to the National Post:

But the lawsuit was not filed in response to the original video, but rather to a cartoon that was later uploaded in which a policeman wearing a name badge “A. Josephs” is shown arresting Santa Claus and U.S. President Barack Obama among others, and punching a photographer in the face.

If the cartoon may have been intended to emphasize abuse of police power during the summer protests, the lawsuit over it and pursuant comments may illuminate what some see as abuse of anonymity granted to online commentators.

The Internet is basically shrugging this off with a chuckle. The Toronto Star found one of the commenters, who was only too happy to shed his anonymity and get in some extra barbs at Josephs while he was at it. “I don’t know why this guy wants to draw more attention to himself,” Todd Mara told the paper. Meanwhile, cartoons continue to be uploaded to the Internet, with the pseudo-Josephs displaying a weapons haul, kettling protesters and even falling in love.

One of them ends with “Next week: Officer Bubbles shoots kitten stuck in tree.” Sure, that’s mean, but we can’t wait to see it.

• More ‘Officer Bubbles’ cartoons online [Toronto Star] • ‘Officer Bubbles’ cartoons pop up on YouTube again [Globe and Mail]Documents: Statement of claim from ‘Officer Bubbles’ lawsuit [National Post] • ‘Officer Bubbles’ files $1.2M suit [National Post] • Hamilton man stands up to ‘Officer Bubbles’ over comments [Toronto Star]Civilizing the Internet, one lawsuit at a time (for now) [Forbes]

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