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Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C

"I Am Spartacus" meme surfaces to protest Twitter 'Joke' ruling

Paul Chambers’ fine for a tweet saying he wanted to blow up an airport irks the Twitterati – who reprint the same message.

TWITTER USERS across the world have come up with a creative way of protesting the verdict at the so-called ‘Twitter joke trial’ – by reposting, in their thousands, the same message that landed its first user in hot water.

Paul Chambers (@pauljchambers) originally landed himself in hot water when he missed a flight to Belfast where he was going to meet a woman, later his girlfriend (@crazycolours) with whom he now lives, from Robin Hood airport in Nottingham.

Having grown frustrated at the absence of any later flights – with his flight the latest of the day to take the Nottingham-Belfast route, he angrily told his partner:

Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!

He was later arrested in connection with the tweet, and fined in court for the message which, it was ruled, contained menace.

Irked – and with the support of his followers on his side – he appealed the verdict, but was yesterday told that the original verdict would still stand.

Today, however, the rest of Twitter has sprung into action – the via the typically nerdy means of a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 film Spartacus – decided to protest the ruling, and underline the jovial nature of the message, by reposting it.

"I Am Spartacus" meme surfaces to protest Twitter 'Joke' ruling
1 / 8
  • #iamspartacus (1)

    A user reposts the content of the Tweet that attracted police attention to Paul Chambers.
  • #iamspartacus (2)

  • #iamspartacus (3)

    An account proclaiming to be that of Robin Hood Airport itself (though obviously satirical) gets in on the joke...
  • #iamspartacus (4) does Samuel Johnson, author of one of the first dictionaries, who died in 1784.
  • #iamspartacus (5)

    Irish comedian and self-professed nerd Dara O'Briain gets in on the joke...
  • #iamspartacus (6)

    ...while some take the opportunity be a bit more irrelevant.
  • #iamspartacus (7)

    Even a satirical account "belonging" to al-Qaeda joins in.
  • #iamspartacus (8)

    Chambers himself, meanwhile, appreciates the humour - and the comedic efforts of some to misinterpret the gag.

For a period earlier, as a result, #iamspartacus was the top-ranking trending topic in the world.

Comedian Stephen Fry has already offered to pay Chambers’ fine, though Chambers himself says he is still considering appealing the verdict to the High Court.