My name is James Meyers. I'm a single dad, DJ, musician, author, and small business owner. Mad Influence is the alias I use when performing, but you may know me as the man that got arrested for a 14-year-old overdue VHS.
My daughter is in elementary school. One morning this spring, during our drive to school, I was stopped by my local police for a broken tail light. The officers asked for my ID and went back to their vehicle. 20 minutes later, they returned and asked me to step out of my car.
One of the officers asked if I knew that there was a warrant out for my arrest from 2002.
Sure as night and day, he showed me an old warrant on his car's computer screen: "JAMES MEYERS DID NOT RETURN VHS TAPE CALLED FREDDY GOT FINGERED TO A LOCAL VIDEO STORE."
The cops gave me a card and instructed me to take my daughter to school, go to work, find a baby sitter, and then give them a call.
I made a video ranting about the incident and went to work, very upset and confused. I later Googled the rental store's name, but there were no results....
Later that day, I arrived at the police station and met the cops that pulled me over. They were very nice and cracked jokes about the situation. The police unloaded their weapons and asked me to follow them to see the magistrate.
As we walked in, I was informed that I needed to put my hands behind my back and wear handcuffs. They took my photo and had a chuckle. I had to sign a written promise saying I'd be in court in five weeks.
The Story Goes Viral
That night, the local news called to ask if I would give them an interview about the situation, as they thought it was ludicrous and ridiculous! I did and, all of a sudden, had national and indie news outlets contacting me.
While in bed the night after the first news interview, I received a phone call from Australia around 1 AM. Upon answering, I heard a very familiar voice singing, "Daddy, would you like some sausage?" I knew exactly who it was and laughed so hard. In fact, he and I both laughed hysterically for a solid 20 to 30 seconds.
It was Freddy Got Fingered's director Tom Green calling me, late as heck on a Tuesday, all the way from Australia! Tom told me that "everything happens for a reason" and paid the $200 fine for me. He followed me on Twitter and we've had some fun email conversations. He's a super cool guy and a comedic genius.
Since my story was so bizarre, I did a lot of interviews. Even Germany, Russia, Canada, and China did pieces on me, and late night talk shows were joking about it.
I noticed that DVD.com, which I follow on Facebook, mentioned my story, so I left a comment. In response, they offered me a year of free DVDs! Which has been great, by the way, I highly recommended them.
I'm thrilled that I don't have due dates to return the DVDs and can watch the films at my leisure with no worries of a late fee, unlike that store up the street! Because of my story, other companies also offered free tickets to Broadway with back stage passes and other cool things.
By the way, lawyer Adam Seifer with SeiferFlatow took on my case pro bono. When we went to court, he talked to the district attorney and the case was dismissed. I'm awaiting the expungement papers now, so please note that my good name was cleared!
Fun Facts About James
Fun fact #1: I was an extra in the movie Shallow Hal. There's a close-up of my face about 15 to 20 mins in, right before Jack Black and Jason Alexander meet the handicapped guy at the bar. Jack was very cool and so was Jason. I made $185 for those 3 seconds on film! The movie studio asked me to come back, but I had to decline because of work.
Fun fact #2: I was the manager of a video store nearly 20 years ago! It was called The Movie Guy in the tiny town of Cleveland, Tennessee. We were a mom-and-pop place that didn't really enforce late fees.... You could pay them off if you kept coming in to rent movies. That made my arrest even more odd, because I always returned my videos since my time as the manager there.
Fun fact #3: I collect Jackie Chan movies and have almost 50! One of his best movies is Project A. Jackie really almost died from a fall off a clock tower – crazy! The action is mind-blowing. Other great ones include Rumble In The Bronx, The Legend Of The Drunken Master, Shaolin, The Karate Kid, and Supercop.