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YouTube prankster faces €500k civil bond for video in which he was slapped

Spaniard Sergio Soler is being sued by a delivery man who was secretly recorded in a viral gag that went wrong

A still of the viral video (Spanish audio).(atlas)

Better known by his online moniker Mr GranBomba, one-time YouTuber Sergio Soler will have to go to court after secretly filming an exchange with a delivery man during which he provocatively called him “anchovy face” and received a slap in return.

Having been fined €30 last year for this reaction, Ricardo Osorio is now suing Soler, who is from Alicante, for slander, defamation of character and exploiting his image without his consent.

Osorio says he has suffered “serious moral and psychological damage”

The magistrate in charge of the case, María Luisa Carrascosa, believes there is sufficient evidence to try Mr GranBomba in a criminal court. Moreover, she has asked for a civil bond of €500,000 in light of a possible jail sentence.

The civil bond figure is just one of the demands being made by Osorio’s lawyer, Carlos Frígola. He also wants half the profits from the sale of Soler’s YouTube channel as well as the money earned from the media and ad campaigns that have fed off the notorious incident, which went viral after being uploaded in December 2016. As the owner of YouTube LLC, Google Spain SL is also in the firing line.

Last year, the court ruled that Osorio was acting in “rational defense” when he assaulted Soler and gave him the minimum sentence for causing light injuries. As the verdict was reached, Judge Ángel Villanueva took the opportunity to chastise the YouTuber for his verbal assaults that generally consist of calling passers-by Spanish insults such as “dickhead” and “loser” in order to record their reaction and make money at their expense.

On top of compensation, Osorio’s lawyer wants Soler to be fined in the region of €16,200 for insults and defamation. Frígola alleges that Soler not only approached his client with intent to provoke and insult him, he made a subsequent video in which he refers to Osorio as “bitter” and “mentally disturbed,” amounting to further infringements of his dignity and privacy.

Soler’s pranks consisted of  calling strangers “dickhead” and “loser”

According to Frígola, Osorio’s image has been parodied on international platforms and exploited for video games and merchandising. Osorio has, he alleges, become a public figure against his will and has suffered “serious moral and psychological damage.” People now recognize him in public and even ask for selfies with him, making it hard for him to get on with his job.

According to sources close to Soler, however, Osorio registered the trademark “anchovy face” shortly after the first video appeared, indicating he has been seeking to benefit financially from his inadvertent fame. The same sources point out that Soler was forced to take down his YouTube channel due to social pressure and threats and that the compensation sought by Osorio is disproportionate to the prank.

English version by Heather Galloway

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