LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A pair of U.K. tourists were arrested after landing in Los Angeles on terror charges after joking on Twitter they were going to ‘destroy America’ and ‘dig up Marilyn Monroe.’

Leigh Van Bryan, 26, was detained last Monday after landing in Los Angeles with his friend, 24-year-old Emily Bunting, according to the British Daily Mail.

Bryan was flagged as a potential threat after tweeting this message about his upcoming trip to Hollywood “@MelissaxWalton free this week for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America? x”

Bryan and Bunting told officials the term “destroy” was British slang for “party.” Despite the explanation, they were held on suspicion of planning to commit crimes and their passports were confiscated, the Daily Mail reported.

Bryan was also questioned about another tweet quoting the animated show, “Family Guy:” “3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA p****** people off on Hollywood Blvd and digging Marilyn Monroe up!”

Bryan’s luggage was searched for spades and shovels as a result.

The pair told the Daily Mail they were questioned for five hours, before they were taken to separate holding cells for another 12 hours. They were then put on a plane home via Paris.

“The officials told us we were not allowed in to the country because of Leigh’s tweet. They wanted to know what we were going to do,” Bunting told the Daily Mail. “They asked why we wanted to destroy America and we tried to explain it meant to get trashed and party.”

We just wanted to have a good time on holiday. That was all Leigh meant in his tweet. He would not hurt anyone.”

The Daily Mail says Bryan and Bunting must apply for visas from the U.S. Embassy in London before flying to the U.S. again.

Bryan’s Twitter account has been locked, barring any casual users from seeing his tweets. The account directs all press to contact a spokesman at South West News Service.

“Based on information provided by the LAX Port Authority Infoline – a suspicious activity tipline – CBP conducted a secondary interview of two subjects presenting for entry into the United States,” Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Jenny Burke said in a statement. “Information gathered during this interview revealed that both individuals were inadmissible to the United States and were returned to their country of residence.”

Inadmissability, she said, could include improper travel documents, prohibited activities or intent, smuggling of contraband or prohibited goods or criminal activity or history.

Comments (43)
  1. jim says:

    damn, last time i ever say “i’m gonna kill it tonite!”

  2. Reason says:

    Other countries laugh at us.


    1. Hollywood Reporter says:

      No kidding, your so right.

    2. European Jack says:

      No, its becase every grain of sand has atoms and Atom bomb is made of those. (dämn, now I’m banned for saying the A-word.)

      Airplanes should be made illegal, nuf said.

    3. John Gault says:

      Maybe people should just be less stupid if they do not want their holiday ruined? If not say what you wish and play roulette.

  3. Mark says:

    Marilyn Monroe was not buried. She is in the wall.

  4. Christopher Koulouris says:

    Of course one has to wonder, if these two were foolish and stupid enough to acknowledge a legitimate desire to ‘destroy’ America wouldn’t authorities have come across a couple of surface to air missiles in Ms Banting’s handbag? Then again, for someone who has spent a considerable time in the UK, the term ‘destroy’ is often used as an affectionate adjective to party the town. Not that you would know if haven’t spent time in the UK. Yep, Dept of Homeland Security outdoing itself once again….


  5. Mike says:

    What if I, as a US Citizen in LA tweet “I’m going to call in sick to work tomorrow and destroy American”…their going to place me on a bus and send me back to where I was born…Kaiser in Hollywood…LOL. And CBP should use that nice word more often (INADMISSIBLE) and start kicking out more illegals who don’t even have an ID to present law enforcement with…the only ways of tracking these criminals are with their fingerprints.

  6. PS says:

    america is going overboard with this. i mean seriously. its british slang sheesh

  7. Travis sanders says:

    And you should go back to school is “America” not “American” its “The only WAY”
    Not “WAYS” and they already have that technology they track criminals with there finger prints if you dint know

    1. Sam says:

      Travis you could benefit from going back to school as well. You might learn the proper use of there, they’re, and their. Not to mention, that fingerprint is a single word with no space.

  8. duh says:

    speak nicely about the U.S. or get the F out…!

    1. Koala477 says:

      I could not agree more! If you want to visit this great country, then respect it, have some dignity for it. I Think the US reacted as they should. If you slack off our country, then you’re not welcome here. Full stop.

      1. Hal says:

        So if someone asks you to kill the music, or while you’re driving, to kill the ignition, or that some virus killed your computer, will you run and hide ??

      2. mirthpro says:

        Koala, you’re reacting like an obedient mindless infant of the “my country, right or wrong” mentality. Get over it – this country is run by morons intimidating the world and its own citizens. America the empire is fading into the sunset., like all imperial powers throughout history that trash liberty and destroy the wealth of its people

  9. USA and Proud?... says:

    This is redonculous!
    Illegal aliens cross over the Mexico-US border all f’ing day long.
    And the US Port Authority at LAX are barring two kids from spending money on holiday here in the US?
    Our priorities as a nation is jacked up! Honestly, this is the most moronic misuse of authority I have read all week!

    1. Hal says:

      A TSA pat down of a 6 year old white girl with blue eyes and carrying a doll is possibly even more moronic.

      1. Dan says:

        That doll could have explosives! ZOMFG/!

  10. Gary says:

    LOL… L.A. = losers…..

  11. GW says:

    if someone said they were going to come over and destroy your house and you didn’t know them, i’m sure you’d be a bit concerned. Just like you can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, not a good idea to make threats that even if joking could be taken as serious.

    1. soupersalad says:

      2 months later, and I have to comment. You don’t get it do you? They weren’t making “joke threats” they were using slang. It’s like saying “Let’s get wasted tonight!” and Greenpeace abducting you and interrogating you over your wasteful, earth-wounding ways.

  12. fred says:

    thanks tsa. clearly these criminals are terrorists. you should be proud for saving so many lives.

  13. Ronnie Pineda says:

    Big brother is getting stupider in his old age! What ever happened to privacy? Oh yeah, The Patriot Act stole it.Be careful what you do, say, text, blog, tweet and pretty soon, think because Big brother continues to grow, only not smarter.

  14. xeno flux says:

    Ahahahahahahaahaha! Did they find any shovels! Actually, NOT funny. OMG, things really gotten ridiculous in this country when such stupid people have such power. Land of the Free? Land of the Idiots more like. I am ashamed of my counrty at the moment.

  15. wade says:

    I don’t even know what to say to this. Who are the real terrorists here? The TSA is comprised of out of work, fast-food workers (no offense to fast-food workers.) I would feel much safer as a U.S. citizen, if they (TSA), were all sent to Guantanamo. How do we get rid of these cowardly thugs?

  16. Greg Franklin says:

    Let this be a lesson to you all, NEVER underestimate the stupidity of law enforcement! They even searched his luggage for a shovel……..

  17. GeauxGhoti says:

    We don’t need these people to destroy America, we’re doing a fine job of that ourselves! We’ve become a bunch of pansies, cowering under our beds with our bibles in one hand and a gas mask in the other… PATHETIC!

    So, what? This guy posts and COMPLETELY innocent tweet using his FREEDOM OF SPEECH and FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION (which is something we valued in the US at one time) and some IDIOT who saw the tweet decided to play Paul Revere?

    If this is what the US is now… I’m ASHAMED to call myself an American, and I’m ASHAMED of my service and injuries sustained during that service…

  18. wildgoose says:

    Over doing it, who would dare to declare such a thing for real ? I thought America = FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

  19. Eric says:

    Having had access to the “take” from real intelligence assets while I was in the service and seeing how raw data is collected and analyzed I can say (though I can hardly claim to be one of the intelligence “experts” involved with this case) that the TSA and DHA had their heads up their arse in this case. The “threat” is tenuous at best, and even if it was there was little or no cause to hold the girl as well. You want to make up the budget deficit? Disband DHS and give us something that works! Not this half-assed bureaucracy that can’t find it’s way out of a wet paper bag!

  20. Bemused in LA says:

    So the next time I see the SIt’n Sleep ad on TV with the tagline “You’re killing me Larry” – should I call 9-1-1 ?

  21. JimBobBodeen says:

    I can’t say what I’d like to say. Big Brother is watching, obviously and cannot take a joke. Nor recognize one. Jheez!

  22. Liquid Snake says:

    O Brave New World.

    Watch out for the Ministry of Love.

  23. Renoira says:

    So we really have turned into a police state now. This is so ridiculous it is beyond belief. Someone made this up, right? This is not the United States of America….it’s just a joke?

  24. HM says:

    I think the “searched their luggage for spades and shovels” is made up. You’ll note there’s no source for that as there is for the remarks at the end of the article, and there would have to be, since only the TSA knows what they searched for! It probably is the flippant remark of the one of the frustrated tourists who was detained, not part of an authorized statement.
    Having said that, we need to slow down and think before we fly off the handle. I am not a big fan of the TSA, in fact it is my humble opinion that we are not one iota safer as a result of the TSA (notice how so many incidents have occurred over the past number of years where people on no-fly lists got on a plane and gave us a scare – thank God only a scare!), but idiocy at so many levels is frightening and hopefully not believable. It is therefore my hope (and belief) that we’re not hearing the whole story, only the flippant version spouted by the angry tourists who were kicked out of the country. It is quite possible there was something else wrong with their entrance docs, etc., so let’s calm down and research further.

  25. G-man says:

    This has to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard, even more moronic than ever for US Homeland Security. As an American who has been living in the UK for 5 years, the UK Border Agency is by no means lax or easy on people by any means. However, I seriously doubt that if any of my friends from back home came to visit, that they would be detained and sent back for tweeting something like “I’m gonna f sh_t up tonight in London!” or “Gonna tear it up tonight in Edinburgh,” or any of the other terms that kids and young adults use for partying or getting wasted. I had to reread this story twice to make sure it wasn’t meant to be ironic or funny, but no… Typical America. Anyone could just read these tweets and OBVIOUSLY see what they meant. I think that they should be sent an apology, because it’s pretty clear they were just 20-somethings coming over to L.A. to have a good time, and SPEND MONEY!!! Something that the US economy seriously needs right now. But living in LA most of my life, I know that a lot of the Customs & Immigration staff at Lax are not the brightest tools in the shed.

  26. Emmett says:

    Talk about ignorant , stupid people. This may have been one of the reasons our fore-fathers followed Columbus to the “New World” – to get away from idiots like these folks.

  27. Jose says:

    Sooooo dumb and over done. I want to apologize to them on behalf of America haha

  28. ddanny says:

    this is so ridiculous ! its obvious it was slang people say it all the time and it was just a joke from a show .. this is what ron paul was talking about ! rEVOLution time

  29. Wren says:

    This happened about the same time an NY Occupier was arrested for tweeting plans for a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge, and Capitol Hill police arrested a journalist on orders of the House GOP because they wanted the press out of their public hearing. The latest victims of US law enforcement fascism are from the UK, but aren’t they entitled to free speech rights within our borders? Borders ‘n Customs, TSA, Homeland Security and the rest of that pack think they’re so powerful with their zero tolerance “war on terrorism”. They are making themselves appear incredibly unintelligent, and are an embarrassment to the nation. Who hires these people? Well, We The People will remove every wanna-be dictator from their position. This authoritarian outrage has gone way too far, and I WILL SAY IT ON TWITTER! This must stop.

  30. Anzo Spagetti says:

    I speak my free will. All governments agency’s need to have their azzes handed to them. I speak the truth. No to the GOP (Good ole pansy) No to the Dems. No to everything. The time has come for the uprising. Words are dead, violence now. Revolution! kill the dumb and powerful kooks of government, let intelligent peaceful, non monetary seeking hounds prevail. There is no God as we understand it. Stop preaching. The fearful pray, the smart learn…..

    This diatribe brought to you today by the letter F and the letter U. Remember, insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result each time.

  31. Chuey says:

    The reality of this is that TSA would NEVER pull a stunt like this with someone of Arabic decent. They would never send Syrians, Jordanians, Iranians (Islamic) people home based on something as ridiculous as this. But…when the violators are English speaking white people, it is somehow permissible. This makes them ‘tough on crime’. And yes….the world laughs at us foolish Americans.

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