Paul Chambers was found guilty for sending a menacing communication, as reported by BBC News, for tweeting a joking bomb threat, “Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week… otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!”
This test of the limits of freedom of speech is actually happening across the pond in the UK and several celebrities came to his defense, though making fun of his poorly written tweet that could be obviously misconstrued without any subtext. Even British comedy figure Stephen Fry pledged that he would go to prison if further appeals did not reverse the court’s decision.
Comedy legend Bill Hicks famously skewered American censorship to the delight and adoration of British audiences nearly 20 years ago, but, now, someone is being fined several hundreds of dollars for a tweet! Though the U.S. is far from extending the gray area of free speech where an individual can’t be prosecuted, perhaps it’s a sign of the times that Chambers is appealing his way through the British court system for a joke bomb threat and the members of the Westboro Baptist Church freely spread their hateful, viciously homophobic message across the U.S.