In a world of fake and overtly partisan news, we have two video clips to examine. We are then tasked with determining whether what is portrayed is legitimate or a setup that seeks to expose a “double standard” that actually does not exist.
Claim: Man With Trump Thrown Off Southwest Airlines Flight For Eating With His Mask Off
The “incident” took place on a Southwest Airlines flight on Tuesday. As the story goes, a black man wearing a pro-Trump cap and mask lowered his mask to eat nuts prior to the takeoff of his Southwest Airlines flights. Flight attendants then decided to throw him off because he was a Trump supporter.
As “evidence” we have the videos below:
Here is the last 45 seconds of the video where the Trump supporter is escorted off the flight. pic.twitter.com/VEAl08umXB
— Grant AZ 🇺🇸 (@Grant503) October 13, 2020
Can you sense my skepticism?
Why I’m Very Skeptical
Here’s why I am skeptical:
- The videos start so late and ends so abruptly.
- What happened leading up to this moment? Why was another FA called? Why did the video stop so suddenly after the corroborating testimony from the “witness” in the row behind?
- How convenient, though, that the woman across the aisle so clearly narrated the video and interrogated the flight attendant.
- How convenient that the man across the aisle from the Trump supporter jumped up to leave the flight in protest.
- Check out the guy’s actions while he is speaking to the flight attendant:
- He’s no longer eating, yet his mask remains lowerd
- When asked to put it on, he places it over his mouth, but not his nose
- Moments later he removes it again
- There’s talk of a podcast…huh?
- Godwin’s law is invoked when the narrator says, “In Germany they also said, ‘Just comply.'”
Based upon his action and the suspicious editing, my hunch is this was all a setup. I suspect this man may have had a bag of nuts in his hand, but refused repeated flight attendant instructions to place his mask on. Maybe he had no food out at all. Can one savor a bag of nuts for the entire duration of the flight, eating them slowly but surely, one at a time?
Allow me to say, with respect, that if you do so, you are an idiot. This has nothing to do with masks themselves. It has nothing to do with their efficacy. It has everything to do with following the legally permissible, non-discriminatory rules that an airline, as a private (versus government) actor, is allowed to set.
But boy oh boy you should check out the Twitterverse. Right wing posters are going crazy over this incident, demanding that the Southwest flight attendant be fired and Southwest issue an apology and compensation.
UPDATE: Southwest Airlines Responds
Southwest Airlines just sent me the following note:
Our reports indicate that a Customer traveling on Flight 2632, with scheduled service from Tampa to Dallas, was asked repeatedly by more than one Employee at different times to wear a face mask. The Customer did not comply with our Crew’s multiple verbal requests—including while boarding the flight before seated. Therefore, the decision was made to return to the gate and re-accommodate him on a later flight to his final destination after receiving assurances he would comply with our face covering policy. We regret the inconvenience the situation created for all involved, but our Crew must support the well-being and comfort of all Passengers.
Our policy clearly states that we require all Customers over the age of two to wear a face covering or face mask while traveling to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. We communicate this policy to all Customers at multiple touchpoints throughout the travel journey including during booking, in a pre-trip email sent prior to departure, and during a required acknowledgement that’s part of the Customer Health Declaration Form which appears during the check-in process on the Southwest app, Southwest.com, Southwest’s mobile website, and airport kiosks. We do acknowledge there may be times when a Customer needs to briefly remove their face covering, for instance, to eat, drink, or take medicine. However, we expect these instances to be very brief, and Customers should put their face covering back on as soon as possible.
It appears my suspicions were correct…
Perhaps this incident is the perfect bellwether of the horrible partisan age in which we live in. But I’m not buying the story. Something smells rotten.
To my readers who support President Trump or take a suspicious look at masks, let me say this – the airlines are not out to get you. They want your business too. And maybe they are overreacting when it comes to masks, but they are not just virtue signaling…it is because they believe it is for your own protection based upon guidance from health experts in the Trump Administration. More importantly, it is because they believe it will allow them to sell more seats. You know…free enterprise.
And a reminder: while practicing civil disobedience in a public place is your constitutional prerogative, that right does not extend to airplanes or other private businesses.
So…what is your assessment of the incident after watching the video above?