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Killer Teddy Bears! Libel Suits! Oh My!

I wish that I had the requisite volume of creative juices to make this stuff up. CNN reports:

A math teacher whose name is used in a student film featuring an evil teddy bear that orders other stuffed animals to kill a teacher is suing the four children who made it, alleging it defamed him.

Daniel Clevenger’s lawsuit, filed May 16 in Henry Superior Court, is the second round of legal action related to the 78-minute film “The Teddy Bear Master.”

Go ahead. Read that again. Yep, The Teddy Bear Master has spawned not one, but two lawsuits.

The creators of the film sued their school district after it expelled them for producing the film. The school district apparently got a nice lesson in First Amendment law because they settled out of court and agreed to reverse the suspensions and wipe them from the kids’ records. The district also paid out $69,000 to the kids.

Mr. Clevenger will not let a pesky thing like the First Amendment get in the way of his bruised ego. He filed suit against the boys because the film mocked the teacher’s appearance and his mannerisms. (Sound effect here: WAAAAAAAAH)

I haven’t been teaching that long, but I think that by the time my very first class was over, my students were mocking my appearance, mannerisms, car, job, accent, and anything else they could think of. I have news for any aspiring teachers, that is part of the freakin job! Call it “student privilege.” Your students get to make fun of you. If you can’t take that, go find another profession. I take it as a compliment. Either they are making fun of you because they like you, and it is funny to them to imitate you, OR they think you are an ass-hat. If they think you are an ass-hat, you probably are. If you sue your students for something like this, guess what? You join the ass-hat hall of fame. Congratulations, Mr. Clevenger.

The complaint goes on to state (this is rich!):

“The defendants intentionally created the ‘Teddy Bear Master’ and intentionally used the plaintiff’s name in such a way that would provoke a reasonably foreseeable emotional disturbance or trauma.”

Maybe Mr. Clevenger has some deep-seated fear of teddy bears, the students knew about it, and they made the film for the express purpose of turning Clevenger into a blubbering whimpering fool, cowering in a corner, driven into such a pathetic state that even lepers would pity him. In that case, I can see this claim having some validity. However, I wouldn’t put my money on that square.

I have not seen the pleadings yet, but I am looking for them. I will definitely post them for appropriate critique, and if necessary, extreme mockery.

What is it with the Indiana schools? Is it just coincidence, or is Indiana trying to be Hoosier State AND the Educational SLAPP state?

Trailer for the film. Warning, idiots may be traumatized. You are not authorized to view this clip, nor this blog, if you are a complete idiot or an ass-hat.


PS – I wonder if Metallica’s attorneys will be knocking at the boys’ doors. They’ve pretty clearly infringed upon Metallica’s copyright, and as we all know, Metallica’s position in the ass-hat hall of fame was secured by the Napster suit. Is Metallica afraid of teddy bears too?

PPS — It seems that Teddy Bears can kill after all.

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