Exclusive: Woman Caught Smoking on Plane Claims She Was Inspired By Fidel Castro

The college professor who smoked a cigarette on an airplane is speaking exclusively to INSIDE EDITION’s Megan Alexander.

She was still smoking and saying sorry to her fellow passengers.

She said, “I apologize to the passengers if I caused any fear.”

Fifty-two-year-old Karen Halnon is also expressing regret to Penn State University, where she's an Associate Professor of Sociology.

“I do apologize for any harm that I have done to Penn State,” she said.

Alexander asked, “Why did you light a cigarette on a plane when you know that's illegal?”

Well, her reasoning is a little kooky. Basically she says it was to show solidarity with her idol and who's her idol? None other than Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro!

Alexander asked, “What about those people who think, this sounds really wacky?”

“Anyone who is speaking out and for social justice, it is the usual situation that most people will think they're crazy,” she replied.

Halnon was charged with disorderly conduct.  

The school told us it's "aware of Dr. Halnon's behavior and is looking into the matter."