We didn’t know how, or who leaked it to the press. My personal hunch is that it was a teacher, who realised the ridiculous nature of it.
I was interviewed by MSNBC and appeared on the six o clock news. Now that there was controversy and publicity behind it the video climbed even higher. It had been viewed seven million times by the time protesters started to gather outside the school.
The protesters gathered around the school with signs like “The constitution exists.” “FREE SPEECH.” Most everybody agreed that suing us was ridiculous, and every lawyer I saw on the TV said that the lawsuit was frivolous. The school board couldn’t back down now though, the state governor was involved.
The local paper look a picture of us, and we were called ‘true American heroes’ for standing up for the constitution against the big bad government. We made the front page. The irony of being an American hero was not lost on me.
My personal opinion flits between thinking that they blew it out proportion, and thinking that we should have just taken the video down.
As I walked into school I was applauded by the crowd of thirty that were camping out just outside school grounds. One of them tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You’re doing a very important thing. The right thing is never easy.”
The whole event seemed to have struck a nerve with the American public, sick as they were of the patriot act and having there freedom limited. Here, finally was something that they could join in with without it being ‘un American’ and therefore ‘pro terrorism.’
The video climbed to twenty five million views, and we were celebrities. The BBC even did a piece about me; a film crew followed me around for a day.
We were set for a court date, but I felt confident. Several high priced lawyers had offered to defend us, pro bono. They told us that the case would most likely be thrown out in hours.
I couldn’t believe how petty the school board were being about not backing down. We couldn’t back down even if we tried now. The video had been taken, remixed and reposted. Freshman all across the county had copied the idea. Their schools seemed to have learned the lesson about interference.
The publicity reached its peak as we came to the court day. I put on my best suit, and along with our various parents, we drove to the courthouse. Emily and Katie had dressed for the occasion, but Robin, true to his spirit had a T-shirt with the words “Free Speech” and a charity on the back. I have a feeling that he may have been paid for that!
As we walked towards the house, we were ambushed by the reporters. As always Robin and I were the main ones that they wished to talk to. We couldn’t hear a specific question over the din of tens of people yelling so Robin simply started talking.
“We just wanted to make a video that our classmates and friends would laugh at. We never wanted to turn this into what it has become. But it has become this whole deal, so we are going to go in there and stand up for what we believe in.”
I honestly think Robin should go into TV. He delivered a perfect sound bite, but then he said “Fight the power!” He was half joking but every single journalist around scribbled those three word on the notepad they were carrying. Robin gave them rationality with just a dash of controversy. He was perfect for the news.
The courtroom was far larger than I expected. I had expected a Judge Judy style room. This, however, was something else entirely. I felt like I had stepped back in time. I looked around me. Protesters, layers journalists and school administrators. An interesting mix.
We sat in the front row, in seats marked reserved. We didn't even need to be there as it turned out. The judge watched the video, which I observed now had thirty five million views. To be fair though… Most of the comments that didn’t say Free Speech FTW! Were questions about my sexuality, specifically my hypothetical homosexuality apparently based on my demeanour. Robin was also repeated called a ‘Fat fuck.” The internet can be a mean place!