Flight Attendant Fired After Photo Of ‘Flipping The Bird’ Goes Viral On Twitter

2/7/13 7:45AM EST

flightattendantgivesfinger Flight Attendant Fired After Photo Of Flipping The Bird Goes Viral On Twitter

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Maybe it’s both. The bird has been flipped quite a bit in recent news, with consequences. A Russian flight attendant was fired after a photo she posted to social networking site Vkontakte in 2011 showed up on Twitter and quickly went viral. The photo depicted a flight attendant—assumed to be poster Tatiana Kozlenko who worked for Russian airline Aeroflot—raising her middle finger to a plane full of passengers. Only the stewardess’ arm was visible in the photo.

Since its original posting, the photo had garnered dozens of “likes,” but when Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov posted the image to Twitter it was retweeted hundreds of times, quickly getting back to the head honchos at Aeroflot, who promptly fired Kozlenko.

The fact of posting a photo shows Tatiana’s attitude towards passengers and her duties,” Aeroflot said on its official Twitter account. “She acknowledged her fault when she spoke to the leadership of the company.”

But Kozlenko says it was not only not her hand in the photo—which was posted in jest—but it depicted a plane belonging to a different airline.

I don’t consider myself guilty!” she proclaimed. “The photo was added to my page, I only tagged myself on it!!! The hand isn’t mine, the plane is not my company’s!!! I don’t understand what they spoil my life for!!! I’m asking you for help and support!!!”

Many bloggers in the Russian community agree Aeroflot took matters too far. Twitter user @oleg_kozyrev, for example, Tweeted, “Why do they blame someone for a photo posted on a personal page? This is common office humor. Is it prohibited to joke in Aeroflot?”

Kozlenko isn’t the only one to find herself in hot water over “the bird” lately. A Florida teenager was jailed 30 days after giving a Miami judge the finger. Penelope Soto flipped off Miami-Dade Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat when he doubled the amount of her bond for drug possession charges.

Another woman, Lindsey Stone, was forced to apologize in October after she posted a photo of herself flipping the bird to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, which prompted an online petition requesting Stone be fired from her job. Stone apologized, but called the gesture a “visual pun,” that she later realized was “in incredibly poor taste.”