Twitter users are taking to the microblogging site by the thousands to support, "Spartacus"-style, a British man whose angry tweet landed him in trouble with the law.
In January, Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster, England, south of York, temporarily closed because of bad weather. A frustrated Paul Chambers of Doncaster tweeted that if it wasn't open within a week, he'd be "blowing the airport sky high!!"
Officials didn't find the quip to be funny. They saw it as akin to a terrorist threat.
Chambers was arrested, found guilty of violating Britain's communications law and fined roughly $1,615, on top of attorneys' fees. A judge rejected his appeal Thursday, deeming the tweet "menacing."
Thousands of Twitter users on Friday protested the decision by repeating the original message with the hash tag #IamSpartacus. The outpouring was a nod to the gladiator film "Spartacus," which features a scene in which slaves sacrifice themselves in solidarity with the title character.
Chambers' supporters said the ruling was a blow to free speech. British actor, writer and comedian Stephen Fry offered on his Twitter profile to pay the full amount of the fine. A Facebook group called Help Paul Chambers now has nearly 600 members.
Meanwhile, Chambers, in what he called a "self-indulgent moan," wrote on his blog that the affair had a "catastrophic" effect on him and would likely leave him bankrupt and a "miserable sod."