1. The air steward who lost his shit.
After a passenger accidentally knocked him on the head – then called him a “motherfucker” instead of apologizing – air steward Steven Slater commandeered his plane’s PA system on the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport and told the plane:
“OK, I’ve had it. To the passenger who called me a motherfucker: Fuck you. Those of you who have shown dignity and respect these last 20 years, thanks for
a great ride, but I’ve been in this business for 28 years and I’ve had it. That’s it. I’m done, motherfucker.”
He then took two beers from the drinks trolley, inflated the emergency chute, and slid down onto the tarmac, dodging the grasp of the plane’s first officer. Fleeing the airport, he drove home, where he was arrested by a helicopter-led SWAT team. His outburst and escape made him a network news hero, spawning the Facebook group, “I Hate The Motherfucker Who Called Steven Slater A Motherfucker.”
2. Roy Keane’s sweary sayonara.
The Republic of Ireland captain’s fuck-you-and-goodbye to manager Mick McCarthy at the 2002 World Cup Finals in Japan spawned a hit play set in ancient Rome, at least four books, parliamentary questions, and a meme 13 years later.
Things Roy Didn’t Like included preparation, training, facilities, accommodation, the team, the management, the Irish FA, and rumours that he’d faked injury. So he offered this constructive feedback:
Mick, you are a liar. You are a fucking wanker. I didn’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a manager, and I don’t rate you as a person. You are a fucking wanker and you can stick your World Cup up your arse. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country. You can stick it up your bollocks.
3. The fall, rise, and fall again of Anthony Weiner.
Sometimes, the “line-drawing” resignation is a worse car-crash than the scandal. In 2011, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner tweeted a photo of his own penis to a lady in Seattle, instead of DMing her. Instead of apologising, Weiner claimed his account had been hacked, stuck to his story in the face of mounting evidence, and gave a series of bizarre TV interviews in which he pretended he couldn’t hear any of the questions.
When Weiner finally made a televised resignation speech, hecklers – angered
more by his stonewalling than his semi-erect manhood – interrupted the broadcast with cries of “Bye bye, pervert!” and “Are you fully erect?” In history’s poorest attempt to stay out of trouble, he promptly ran for mayor of New York, but resigned again when he was revealed to be posting yet more photos of his penis, under the alias Carlos Danger.
4. The apoplectic restaurant critic.
The emails of restaurant critic Giles Coren to his hapless editors are the stuff of legend. On 10 August 2002, he finally snapped, resigning with a spectacular email to the Times in which he expressed “relief … that nobody reads your poxy magazine”. He then demanded the Times, “Never ever ask me to write something for you again” – indeed, they could keep the backpay he was owed because “I’d rather take £400 quid for assassinating a crack whore’s only child in a revenge killing for a busted drug deal – my integrity would be less compromised.”
5. The (not very well) hidden message.
Daily Express journalist Stephen Pollard left the paper for a new job at the Times, shortly after its takeover by porn baron Richard Desmond on 6 January 2001. Amid cutbacks and newsroom rebellion, Pollard delivered his parting shot in his final column, in that morning’s edition of the newspaper. It was a seemingly innocuous piece on organic farming and the EU. The first letter of each sentence spelled out “FUCK YOU DESMOND”. Problem: Pollard’s new employer saw the message, and withdrew his offer of a job.
6. The libidinous politician.
As under-secretary of state for Defence (RAF) in May 1973, Antony Lambton was photographed in bed with a prostitute. In his resignation statements, he claimed that “gardening” and “debauchery” were the only pleasures that could distract him from his “futile” day job in government, forgot the exact number of prostitutes he’d been photographed with, blamed the “sneak pimp” (the prostitute’s husband) who had his eye on the paper’s money…and emerged with a huge upswing of public approval.
7. The aggrieved reporter.
Mark Schlueb moved his family from Florida to Ohio to take up a post at the Akron Beacon Journal in June 2000. By March 2001, it had all gone wrong. Schlueb spent his last five minutes in the office hammering out a kiss-off to CEO Tony Ridder that quickly went viral. In it, he addressed cuts to the newsroom’s budget (“You are cutting these people off at the knees, you asshole”), corporate strategy (“The kid who changes my oil could do a better job than you”), and, finally, extended an olive branch to Ridder with no hard feelings (“My only regret is that you never came to the office. I would have loved to piss on your shoes.”).
8. And Adam.
Adam, a shift manager at KFC in Depew, New York, worked 22 straight days on the understanding that he could take the Fourth of July weekend off with friends. When his manager backed out of the deal, Adam delivered his notice to quit on the 40-foot illuminated Colonel Sanders sign overlooking the freeway, whose “Happy 4th July weekend from KFC!” he amended to “I QUIT – ADAM. FUCK YOU.”
Adapted from F**k You & Goodbye: The Dark & Hilarious History of the Resignation (Constable & Robinson). Follow Matt on Twitter @MattPotter.