The man who wanted to who refused to wear a mask on “insanity” grounds has been banned from American Airlines for the remainder of the pandemic. You won’t find me defending him, here. Perhaps someone can help me understand him…
What American Airlines Said In Banning Anti-Mask Passenger
Yesterday, I wrote about a man who refused wear a mask onboard an American Airlines flight. He claimed he could not do so on medical grounds, but later took to Twitter to argue he did so because he was not insane. The prominent “conservative” activist was booted off his flight from New York La Guardia to Dallas after he refused to provide medical evidence that he could not wear a mask.
American Airlines later rebooked him to Seattle via Charlotte, which he apparently did fly. It is not clear if he wore a mask on those flights.
After examining the evidence, American Airlines opted to ban this customer until face masks are no longer required. AA lays out its reasoning below. Note that I have again redacted his name, since this all may be a publicity stunt and I don’t want to aide that effort.
“American Airlines thoroughly reviewed an incident on June 17 involving one of our customers, [redacted]. As a result of this review, [the passenger] will not be permitted to fly American, as he failed to comply with our stated policy and crewmember instructions.
“We are committed to protecting the safety and well-being of our customers and team members, which is why we strengthened enforcement of our policy for requiring face coverings on board. We expect customers who choose to fly with us to comply with these policies, and if necessary, we will deny future travel for customers who refuse to do so.
“Restricting travel is a step we take very seriously, and it will only occur after a comprehensive review of the facts of an incident. [The passenger] will be permitted to fly with us once face coverings are no longer required for customers.”
The investigation revealed that the man did not have a legitimate medical condition, which he later claimed in conflicting statements.
A Win-Win For American Airlines + Passenger?
I’d guess this is a win-win situation for both parties. American Airlines wins because it shows that its onboard mask policy is not “toothless”. By making an example of this passenger, it hopes others will take more seriously the guidelines. Furthermore, it shows the public that it is taking safety seriously, which its hopes will encourage more business.
The passenger wins too, though. He becomes an icon for a movement that sees COVID-19 as a Chinese hoax and masks as a sign of ignorant submission. The passenger, a former liberal Democrat, became prominent (in the fourth-rate celebrity sense) for his political backing of President Trump in 2016. His antics will play well to a subset of that support base, propelling him to greater fame.
But unlike my photo incident, where passengers backed me up, this guy was made to look like a fool for lying about the incident. But sadly, any publicity is good publicity, which is why I am not naming him here.
Why I Call Him A Hypocrite
Maybe some of you can help me, here. Let’s be constructive in our discussion. This guy is called a “conservative activist” in a number of headlines (which itself is an oxymoron, but I think we all get it). If you are for free markets and pro-business, why do you protest a private company enacting a neutral policy? Specifically, if American Airlines requires passengers to wear masks, why do you think you can ignore the rule? He later claimed there is “not a federal law” mandating masks. Really?
Federal law has nothing to do with this situation.
Another example. This guy claims his free speech rights were violated. I’m so tried of this trope. The 1st Amendment does not give you unfettered free speech rights, even on political topics. Instead, the 1st Amendment prohibits government (state actors) from restricting most forms of speech.
This idea that he had a “free speech” right is stupid on two levels. One, because he actually doesn’t since AA is a private corporation. And two, he wasn’t thrown off for his speech, but for his actions: he not only expressed his disapproval of the mask policy, but refused to put one on.
We must all guard against hypocrisy, but I’m so sick of people saying one thing and doing another. It is the fastest way to lose all credibility.
So the man was banned. American Airlines looks tough and safe, the guy wins support within his own bubble. Now, can we all just wear masks? If you believe it is stupid, fly private or just play the game.
image: American Airlines