Flip off a Judge and Become a Celebrity

File this one under “Only in America”: on February 4, a Florida teen named Penelope Soto flips off a judge at a hearing for a Xanax possession charge, which earns her a 30-day contempt of court sentence. ┬áThe moment is captured via courtroom video. The video goes viral and becomes a story on CNN and CBS. Soto generates another cycle of news by issuing a tearful apology on February 8, which creates the perfect story arc and more mainstream media attention, including coverage from The Huffington Post. And, wouldn’t you know: she gains attention on social media, too, with a Facebook Fan page and Twitter feed making her out to be a victim of the U.S. “war on drugs and the poor.”

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