What would Gord do?
A North Carolina man was arrested and charged this week for failing to return a VHS rental, “Freddy Got Fingered,” to a now-defunct video store some 14 years ago.
James Meyers, from Concord, was served Tuesday with an arrest warrant and charged with failing to return rental property from 2002. It’s a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $200, according to reports.
When Tom Green — who wrote, directed and starred (as Gord Brody) in the crude 2001 comedy — heard about the criminal charge, he said he wanted to help.
“If it’s 200 bucks, of course I’ll pay it for him,” Green told the New York Daily News, “just for the principle of the thing.”
Meyers, 37, was driving his daughter to school Tuesday when he was pulled over for a burned-out tail light; after police ran his license, he got the news from an officer.
“He finally comes back and he’s like, ‘Sir, can you step out of the car?’ and my daughter’s in the backseat, bug-eyed: ‘What’s happening, Daddy? Are they going to take you to jail for a bad brake light?’” Meyers said in a YouTube video posted after the incident. “The guy brings me to the back of the car and he goes, ‘Sir, I don’t know how to tell you this but there’s a warrant for your arrest from 2002. Apparently, you rented a movie, ‘Freddy Got Fingered,’ and you never returned it.
“So there’s a civil suit that they processed as a criminal case, and we’re here to take you to jail. But it’s from 14 years ago, and I see you have your daughter, and I think this is ridiculous.’
“And I’m looking at this man like, ‘What?’”
Meyers said the officer told him he would let him go but that he had to report to the police station to “get this cleared up.”
When Meyers arrived at the station, he said, he was arrested.
“For the first time I got put in handcuffs,” he told WSOC-TV.
Concord police said in a statement that the warrant was issued in February 2002 by J&J Video in Salisbury, N.C.
“The warrant, which is signed by a magistrate, directs law enforcement officials to arrest a person and take them before a judicial official without unnecessary delay to answer to the charges,” police said in a statement. “In lieu of arresting Meyers on the scene of the traffic stop, the officer allowed Meyers to arrange a time to come to the Concord Police Department to be served with the arrest warrant.
“Later in the day, Meyers came to the Concord Police Department to be served with the arrest warrant. Officers took Meyers to the Cabarrus County Magistrate’s Office where they assisted him in getting a written promise to appear in court. Officers are required by policy to handcuff anyone prior to entering the secured area inside of the magistrate’s office.”
When Green heard about the incident, he took to Twitter to express his disbelief.
Green later talked about it on an Australian TV show, saying he called Meyers on Wednesday night to express his sympathies.
“I actually called him,” he said. “I saw the story was tweeted to me by one of his friends. I got his phone number. I called him up.”
Green added that “it’s an example of how bureaucracy can get out of control.”
Meyers is set to appear in court April 27, according to news reports.
“They’re not focusing on the crimes I think they should be focusing on,” Meyers told WSOC. “That hour the cops sat out there with me, the hour and a half I was down in the magistrate’s office could have been spent somewhere else.”