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Steven Slater, JetBlue Flight Attendant, Curses Passengers, Jumps Down Emergency Chute, Becomes Folk Hero (UPDATES, VIDEO, PHOTOS, POLL)

First Posted: 08/09/10 05:47 PM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 06:20 PM ET

UPDATE 8/12:
Slater joked with The New York Times that he's thought about using the emergency chute for 20 years, and that he needs a nap. Watch the interview here.

And on Thursday morning "The Today Show" spoke to Cynthia Susanne, Steven's ex-wife and good friend about claims that he was "inebriated." Susanne replied that she had never known Steven to have a problem with alcohol.

UPDATE 8/11:

JetBlue has responded to the event on their blog BlueTales, writing "It wouldn't be fair for us to point out absurdities in other corners of the industry without acknowledging when it's about us....Perhaps you heard a little story about one of our flight attendants? While we can't discuss the details of what is an ongoing investigation, plenty of others have already formed opinions on the matter. Like, the entire Internet."

***
This morning "Good Morning America" showed Steven Slater grinning widely as he left custody last night, telling a journalist "It seems like something here has resonated with a few people, and that's kind of neat."

WATCH:

The Associated Press reports that Steven Slater's father was an airplane pilot.

Prosecutors are asserting that Slater could have injured or killed ground crew workers with the emergency slide, while Slater's defense attorney Howard Turman said his client first made sure there was no one in the slide's path before the deployment.

This morning "The Early Show" visited Slater's home in Queens, where a sign reading "Steve Hero!" sat. Slater posted $2,500 in bail. After journalist asked if he was going to lose his job. "More than likely," he responded.

When asked what he thinks of all his fans, he grinned and said "I appreciate the support."

WATCH:

And, of course, there have already been two songs called "The Ballad of Steven Slater" and a huge outpouring of support on YouTube. See photos of Slater being released last night, and some of the video tributes to him below.

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JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater leaves a correctional facility in the Bronx after posting bail, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010, in New York.
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Read Jaunted.com's "Funniest Tweets About JetBlue Flight Attendant Steven 'Slip N' Slide' Slater."

UPDATE 8/10 4:30pm:
According to the Associated Press, JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater was suspended by JetBlue on Tuesday pending the investigation. He was smiling slightly as he was led to a Queens courtroom, where a judge set his bail at $2,500.

Slater's defense attorney Howard Turman provided reporters with a slightly different account of events.

From the Associated Press:

Police had said Slater became angry when a passenger defied requests to stay seated, then accidentally hit him in the head with her luggage.


Turman said the dispute had begun earlier, as the flight was awaiting takeoff from Pittsburgh, when two female passengers got into an argument over space in the overhead bins. That's when Slater was struck in the head, Turman said.

After the plane landed in New York, one of the women who had been asked to gate-check her bag was enraged that it wasn't immediately available, Turman said.

"The woman was outraged and cursed him out a great deal," Turman said. "At some point, I think he just wanted to avoid conflict with her."

Prosecutors said Slater also addressed the passengers on the intercom.

"Those of you who have shown dignity and respect these last 20 years, thanks for a great ride," he said, according to prosecutors.


***
On Monday afternoon, fed-up JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater walked off the job in high style.

As Flight 1052 from Pittsburgh to New York was taxiing to the gate at JFK Airport, a passenger reportedly stood up to retrieve his luggage and Slater asked him to sit down. The Wall Street Journal reports that the JetBlue flight attendant was allegedly hit in the head with by the compartment door or the luggage. He then asked the passenger for an apology, and was denied, receiving an expletive instead.

The attendant--who is also known as Steve Slater-- then reportedly got on the PA system and, according to ABC News, said "To the passenger who just called me a motherfucker, fuck you. I've been in this business 28 years, and I've had it." He then grabbed a beer, activated the emergency chute, slid out the plane, and ran to his car, which was parked in an employee lot. He then drove home.

He was later arrested by Port Authority of New York And New Jersey police at his home in Belle Harbor, Queens. He faces charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing.

The New York Daily News reports that Slater was in bed with his boyfriend when the cops arrived to arrest him.

Slater's neighbor Curt Karkowski told the Daily News, "He left with a big smile on his face."

Judy Rochelle, whose son Kenny lives with Slater, told the Daily News "Steven's mother is dying....She has lung cancer. She's had two chemos and the prognosis is not good. They were on their way out to California this weekend to settle her affairs."

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/08/09/2010-08-09_talk_about_turbulance_jetblue_flight_attendant_drops_intercom_fbomb_bolts_down_e.html#ixzz0wEeCK4aZ


38-year-old Slater was still in custody on Monday night.

WATCH:

JetBlue Airways Corp. released a statement saying it was working with the Federal Aviation Administration and Port Authority police to investigate the incident. The company said, "At no time was the security or safety of our customers or crew members at risk."

According to the Steven Slater LinkedIn page, he has been with JetBlue since January 2008 and is a member of the Inflight Values Committee member and chairman of the Uniform Redesign Committee.

Steven Slater's MySpace page says he's been a flight attendant since 1990. He has previously worked for SkyWest, TWA, and Delta.

Slater wrote on MySpace:


Well howdy friends and loved ones! Thanks for stopping by my little piece 'o the web! Chances are I am flying 35, 000 feet somewhere over the rainbow on my way to some semi-fabulous JetBlue Airways destination! Truly, some are better than others. But I am enjoying being back in the skies and seeing them all. The last few years have ssen me grounded, doing the daily grind,'9 to '5-, "real job" thing and hating most of it. Now I am back in the swing of life and having a blast. Can't wait to see where I go next! Beating alcoholism and substance abuse "one day at a time" has opened up new worlds of opportunity for me, and I am so thankful to those who have guided me along the path to successful living, and given me new wings to fly. See you above the clouds....


Slater has since become a folk hero of sorts, receiving an outpouring of support online. Check out the Steven Slater Facebookpage, which appears to be following media coverage of the incident, or a Steven Slater Facebook tribute page or the Free Steven Slater page or I Support Steven Slater page or the I Hate The Motherfucker That Called Steven Slater A Motherfucker page.

Quick Poll

What do you think?

Steven Slater is my hero!

He could have handled the situation better, but I can understand his frustration.

What he did was reprehensible on every level. He should be fired.

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Filed by Kate Auletta  |