A Twitter campaign in support of a man convicted over a ‘joke’ Tweet threatening to blow up an airport has exploded globally.
Users of Twitter are unimpressed by a judge’s decision yesterday to dismiss 27-year old Paul Chambers‘ appeal against his conviction for a “menacing” tweet – and have been republishing the offending tweet in their thousands.
Mr Chambers, an accountant, made the offending comment on Twitter in January when he thought he may miss a flight.
The tweet read: “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your s**t together otherwise I’m blowing the airport skyhigh!!”
He was then prosecuted under a law designed to stop nuisance calls, and fined £1,000.
“Menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed.” Judge Jacqueline Davies’s ruling on the offending tweet
His appeal against the conviction yesterday was dismissed by Judge Jacqueline Davies, who said the tweet was “menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed.”
She also ruled that Mr Chambers should pay a further £2,000.
However, her decision did not go down well on the social networking site, with #twitterjoketrial trending since yesterday – meaning it was one of the most popular topics being discussed on Twitter globally.
Today however, the subject has really exploded, with users retweeting the original tweet in various forms and adding the hashtag #iamspartacus at the end, in a nod to the 1960 film in which Spartacus’s fellow gladiators will not let him be singled out by proclaiming they are all Spartacus.
The #iamspartacus tweet has spread across the world, with celebrities and comedians – including Stephen Fry, Marcus Brigstocke and Dara O’Briain – taking part. The online campaign is believed to have been started by @christt, who tweeted last night: “I think we should all tweet Paul Chambers’ original joke, Spartacus style. Thousands of us. Would that work?”
Even joke Twitter accounts such as Dr Samuel Johnson, above, have joined the campaign.
The campaign is the latest incident to demonstrate the increasing global power and reach of Twitter. After several politicians found themselves in hot water during the election over ill-advised tweets, just yesterday a Conservative councillor was arrested and bailed over a Twitter post.