Man pokes fun at news tweets; anchorman freaks out, has him jailed

John Discepolo
John Discepolo Twitter

It will now be up to the courts to decide if a South Florida man’s tweet to a local news anchor was truly just a “joke” or a dangerous threat on the anchor’s life.

Palm Beach County’s WPEC-TV news anchor John Discepolo has a history of tweeting upcoming news stories with teasers like “next at 11, next at 5”, but when Martin Pierro, 41, tweeted back what he maintains was simply a joke – “poking fun” at those teasers – Discepolo panicked over what he felt was a threat to him and his family and notified police.

martin pierro
Martin Pierro Facebook

Pierro was arrested last Friday by the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office and charged with “intimidation through a written threat to kill or injure,” according to WTEV-TV.

Pierro, whose Twitter handle is the name of his business @CosmicTimes, had the following exchange with Discepolo on Oct. 23:


Pierro, who was released on $5,000 bail Saturday, took to Facebook to thank his friends and supporters and said “never in a million years” did he think he would face a legal battle that “no doubt will cost me thousands and thousands of dollars.”

His statement read, in part:

I wish I could comment on it and explain how I am being railroaded here – but seeing as I have been informed that ALL of my social media is being monitored … I feel it would be best to save those conversations for another day.

I won’t be able to comment on any of your supportive posts going forward, but wanted you to know that the posts and messages have been received and are very helpful to me and my family as we deal with this dark chapter.

For me it will be business as usual, I will continue to make my silly little facebook and twitter posts as I continue to work on strengthening Cosmic Times in preparation for 2014.

But let me say this – be careful what you say openly … the world has changed drastically in the last few years and what was touted as progress has only made things worse and has weakened the very foundation this great country was built upon.

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There has been mixed reaction to the story, and WND published a few of the examples, along with a compilation of some tweets from people who find criminal charges absurd:

“Who jokes around like this nowadays? A threat is taken more seriously with everything that has happened in the past! Stupid thing to do!” (Mindy Degnon)

“So a joke, even a tasteless one, can land us all in jail now? Wow. Also, what kind of man gets scared over a joke on the internet? Seriously. Aren’t there real criminals to go after? My taxpayer dollars at work!” (Roberto Torres)

“This is typical of a third-rate news station trying to get publicity. Even in the twitter post it was explained that the tweet was a jab at the stupid teasers john discepolo posts.” (Dan Bodenstein)

“It’s not against the law for the media to lie and deceive the people yet when some guy makes a joke he gets arrested for it. I see where the problem is.” (Still Waves)

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