British Nationals Refused Entry to U.S. Over Twitter Tweets

Anyone with a Twitter account knows that it's easy to say things without first putting them through that all-important filter: Will people care? Am I doing something illegal? Will this make my life more difficult? We all know the story of Paul Chambers, the man arrested and eventually charged  after joking about blowing up a UK airport on Twitter. Though the Paul Chambers' ruling was widely considered unfair, he's not the only person to get in trouble for tongue in cheek comments made on Twitter. Chambers was this week joined by bar manager Leigh Van Bryan and friend Emily Bunting, who were both recently refused entry to the United States after comments they had made on Twitter caught the attention of the Department of Homeland Security.

According to the Sun newspaper, Leigh tweeted at a friend, "Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?" He later tweeted a reference to Family Guy: "3 weeks today, we're totally in LA p*ssing people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin' Marilyn Monroe up!"

DHS saw his messages and detained him and his friend upon their arrival at LAX. They were held and questioned for five hours before being handcuffed and transferred to prison cells guarded by armed officials.

Leigh says he tried to explain that 'destroy' is slang for partying hard in Britain but the DHS officials held the two on suspicion of planning to "commit crimes." The story goes that they thought Leigh's friend Emily was there to act as a look-out while Leigh raided the crypt of Marilyn Monroe. They even checked their luggage for shovels. The two were sent home on a plane the next morning, but Leigh was also issued with papers detailing the reason he was refused entry to the U.S.

"He had posted on his Tweeter [sic] website account that he was coming to the United States to dig up the grave of Marilyn Monroe. … Also on his tweeter [sic] account Mr. Bryan posted that he was coming to destroy America."

Think before you Tweet, guys.

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Jane McEntegart works in marketing communications at Intel and was previously Manager of Content Marketing at ASUS North America. Before that, she worked for more than seven years at Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, holding such roles as Contributing Editor and Senior News Editor and writing about everything from smartphones to tablets and games consoles.

  • Scoregie
    Only in the US....
  • joytech22
    I'm kinda speechless. What do I say about this?
    Wouldn't a potential terrorist use methods of contact other then normal chat channels?
  • techcurious
    What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? They did not tweet specifics of how they would literally dig up Marilyn Monroe or destroy America. People say stupid things to friends all the time! This is nuts..
  • back_by_demand
    Revenge for us barring Snoop entry to the UK, fair swap I would say...
  • CKKwan
    This is the so call Freedom of Speech that US always proud of?
  • fixxxer113
    joytech22Lol...?I'm kinda speechless. What do I say about this?Wouldn't a potential terrorist use methods of contact other then normal chat channels?
    Of course... That's why we hear about stories like this while real terrorists fly planes through buildings... Just sayin'.

    American passengers should all be harassed and publicly humiliated with no reason, in airports all over the world until their goverment gets its sh*t together.
  • bebangs
    so if i post I WILL DESTROY AMERICA, it will automatically show up on DHS?
    guess I WILL BOMB the forums with comments about AIRPORTS OR AIRPLANE.
    or ignore this post, because I AM not a TERRORIST.
  • mrmaia
    Complete PARANOID has reached Twitter.

    Understanding "he was coming to the United States to dig up the grave of Marilyn Monroe" from "diggin' Marilyn Monroe up!" is one of the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.
  • eiskrystal
    Think before you set foot in the US. The totalitarian democracy!
    US at their best :)