Judge Orders Kids To Humiliate Themselves On YouTube As Punishment

Jun 10th, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Story, General

A Florida judge has ordered two teenage boys who used the site for a prank to create a video apology for their mischief and to post it on YouTube:

The prank, known as “fire in the hole,” has become common in the past year. It happened July 25 to fast-food worker Jessica Ceponis at the drive-through of the Taco Bell in Merritt Island, about 50 miles east of Orlando.

Ceponis handed a carload of teens their soft drinks. When she returned to the drive-through window to give them their change, they yelled, “Fire in the hole!” hurled a 32-oz. cup of soda and ice at Ceponis and sped off.

The teens posted a video of the incident on YouTube.com, alongside a number of other videos showing similar pranks. Today, the teens are scheduled to post another video on YouTube: an apology that shows them face down and handcuffed on the hood of a car.

The judge, prosecutor and defense attorneys who devised this punishment hope it will serve as a deterrent.

In addition to filming the apology video, the teens were sentenced to 100 hours each of community service, they each have to pay a $30 cleaning fee to the restaurant and they have to write letters of apology. The charges will be dropped when the terms of the sentences are met.

Victim: YouTube Apology “Doesn’t Cut It”

The victim in this case, Jessica Ceponis, doesn’t want a YouTube apology. 

“I don’t think the lesson is completely learned, because they are still young and to some of their friends, this is going to make them heroes,” says Ceponis. Ceponis also notes that she has never had a personal apology from the boys and that, while her face was shown clearly in the video they posted, theirs are never shown in their apology, nor are they identified by name.

While the YouTube apology might seem like an apt punishment for the teens, it goes against YouTube’s content guidelines, which forbid posting videos of people getting humiliated.

What do you think? Should the state be forcing minors to humilate themselves on YouTube?

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7 Responses to “Judge Orders Kids To Humiliate Themselves On YouTube As Punishment”

  1. Brandon says:

    This “embarassment” video is not enough punishment. These hoodlums
    need to be punished for real in front of the world.

    At the very least, they and their parents should be required to attend a
    sensitivity or community activism workshop, to learn how to live among
    their fellow human beings.

    Obviously, by humiliating a person working in the fast food drive-in, they
    show they have no respect for other people who are at least trying to
    make a place for themselves in the community by working, and not
    driving around being jackasses.

  2. taniaelis says:


    I don’t know about you, but humiliating teens on YouTube doesn’t seem like a great solution.

    Minors are going to do stupid things, and they should get punished for them. But do you think YouTube should have to foot the cost for the punishment?

    Should there be a teen punishment channel so everybody can laugh at these kids for being stupid?

  3. Meryl Steinberg says:

    To the extent that an apology is humbling, it is a good thing. Humility is preferred to arrogance.
    It’s not like the judge is asking them to drop their trousers and have a public spanking. Humiliation is what Guantamo and other prisoners are subjected to by our government. Let’s get some perspective.

  4. James Lewin says:

    Meryl, Brandon – I had the same first thoughts – but then I thought about it from YouTube’s perspective.

    Would you want some judge making kids come to your office or business and forcing them to make asses of themselves?

  5. Elba Vazquez says:

    First of all, you comment and article assumes that these teenagers that through the drink at the girl are being humiliated by apologyzing. When in reality, the person being humiliated was the girl getting hit with a drink through no fault of her own. It was a cheap cowardly act to throw that drink on her, and their You Tube video of them apologyzing is only a bandaid for their disrespect. If anything, You Tube should not have aired the original video of them throwing the drink on the girl.

    By the way, to the previous comment, these kids made asses of themselves by what they did, and a noble act of apology if sincere can never be humiliating.

  6. James Lewin says:

    Elba – I’d like to agree with you – but I don’t think a forced apology is a “noble act” on the kids’ part.

    Also – do you think YouTube is responsible for the harassing video being published? Should they have to host this apology video?

  7. Mitch says:

    I don’t think it’s a problem for Youtube. Trust me, people make asses of themselves on Youtube all the time. Haven’t you guys ever been ON Youtube? that’s all it is.

    But yeah, it’s not a strict enough punishment. It doesn’t show their faces or mention them by name? How is that humiliating them if nobody knows it’s them? The 100 hours of community service isn’t bad. The $30 could be a big deal or not a big deal, depending on the age of these teens, but considering they were in the drive thru, they can probably pay it pretty easily.

    Overall these are some stupid kids who need the stupid beat out of them, and fast.

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