Man Loses Twitter “Joke” Appeal for Threatening to Blow Up Robin Hood

Stephen Fry from Happy Birthday to GNU

The man convicted of “menace” after he Tweeted a “joke” threat about blowing up Doncaster-Sheffield’s Robin Hood Airport has lost his appeal. (Yes!!! It’s really called Robin Hood Airport!!). Don’t worry, though; Oscar Wilde agreed to pay his fine.

That’s not the real Oscar Wilde — he’s still dead, last I heard — but actor Stephen Fry, who played Wilde in Wilde and quit Twitter recently after suggesting women don’t enjoy sex, which pissed a few of them off (and surely some men who felt obliged to differ).

Fry didn’t appreciate the outcry, and left Twitter in a huff. Then he came back! And he’s now leading the Twitter Guerrilla Army protesting Chambers’ conviction, 140 characters at a time. Isn’t this fun?

You can find Chambers here; he says the hashtag #bitchiwillcutyou is point 1 in his defense. You can find Stephen Fry here; his defense is probably that he’s right, but honestly, who has the time to wade through all that English wit? However, his wife and the mother of his innumerable children tweets here. (Yes, Fry is gay, but that doesn’t stop her). She seems to be fairly satisfied.

Anyway, back to the bomb threat; maybe they take those things extra-serious when your destination is Belfast:

Paul Chambers, a 27-year-old accountant, had established an online relationship with a woman living in Belfast and he arranged to visit her last January.

He planned to fly to Northern Ireland from an airport near Doncaster but when he heard a report suggesting poor weather had closed it he posted a tweet in which he said: “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your sh*t together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!”

He was subsequently arrested by South Yorkshire police after airport officials had complained about his post.

He was convicted and fined £1,000 and also lost his financial manager’s job.

[Link to the Irish Times story.]

The interesting thing here, which many news agencies seem to be missing, is that Chambers meant to send his comment as a private message to his Belfast paramour. Instead, he tweeted it publicly. The Guardian mentions that in their article, but practically glosses over it. His defense that the threat was therefore playful “banter” didn’t get very far with the justice system.

If this isn’t enough to make you exercise extra caution when sending PMs with terrorist threats, I don’t know what is.

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One comment on “Man Loses Twitter “Joke” Appeal for Threatening to Blow Up Robin Hood
  1. Do not joke on Twitter about things!

    Side note: Sometimes I wonder if Stephen Fry and Kanye West are the same person with two different Twitter accounts. Things like this don’t make the distinction any easier. Only difference between the two 140-char drama queens I can tell is that Fry assaults my female ego with sexism and West rapes my human eyeballs with caps lock.

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