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18 April 2024

US arrests, deports UK tourists over Twitter joke

By Staff

Two British tourists were barred from entering the US after innocent tweets joking about “destroying America” were picked up by the country’s anti-terror cops, according to a report in the Sun.

According to the paper, US special agents monitoring Twitter spotted Leigh Van Bryan’s messages weeks before he left for a holiday in Los Angeles with his friend Emily Bunting. His message, ahead of his trip to Hollywood, read: “Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America [sic!]”.

That was when the Department of Homeland Security flagged up Leigh as a potential threat. Despite telling officials at LA airport that the term “destroy” was British slang for partying, the pair were held on suspicion of planning to “commit crimes”.

Leigh, who also quipped about “digging up Marilyn Monroe” on Twitter, said they were treated like terrorists on arrival at a Los Angeles International Airport. The pair were held by armed guards and quizzed for five hours before being handcuffed, put in a van with illegal immigrants and locked up overnight.

According to the tourists, the duo spent 12 hours in separate holding cells and were then deported unceremoniously. The 26-year-old Leigh was allegedly kept under armed guard in a cell with Mexican drug dealers.

The 24-year-old Emily said: “Officials told us we were not allowed into the country because of Leigh’s tweets.”