The young man thrown off a Southwest Airlines flight over a facial mask has clarified his story, appearing on a popular conservative podcast with the woman who filmed the onboard discrepancy. Does the interview tell us anything more about what occurred?
Young Man Thrown Off Southwest Flight Over Mask Issue Speaks Up
Dave Rubin, host of The Rubin Report, hosted Philip Ndifon and KrisAnne Hall on his program. Ndifon is a young man who was removed from a Southwest flight this week and Hall is the woman who filmed and provided narration for the video. She’s also a constitutional law attorney and hosts her own conservative podcast. You can see the video clip of what happened onboard as well as the interview below:
Unfortunately, Rubin failed to ask what I deemed the most important question: asking Ndifon to respond to Southwest’s statement that he had been repeatedly told by multiple people before he even sat down that he had to wear his mask. Instead, this is the closest we got:
Rubin: Did the flight attendant give you any warning before what we see on the video?…What were you eating? What were you doing?
Ndifon: I was actually eating a bag of trail mix and a cup of coffee as well. I even have a video of myself drinking the cup of coffee and then putting the mask back on as they required over the nose, which is the only warning that they even told me was to put the mask over the nose, not under the nose. That was the only warning I received from anybody.
I find the answer interesting. First, the video of him drinking the cup of coffee is not part of the clips posted online. Why hasn’t that been released? Second, Ndifon admits that he was not wearing the mask properly. We saw that again in the video itself.
Ndifon and Hall are not seeking to sue Southwest. Instead, they want Southwest Airlines “to do the right thing.” Hall wants Southwest to “make things whole” without litigation. That’s a legal term implying compensation. But Hall also spoke fondly of Southwest and added she simply wants assurance that this was just a “triggered flight attendant” and does not represent the viewpoint or practice of the airline as a whole.
Does This Interview Change My Opinion?
I offered my initial assessment of the situation yesterday and was very direct in voicing my concern over inconsistencies in the story, which Southwest’s statement only magnified. While those concerns were not mitigated by this interview, I do want to make clear that I was not present and my conjecture is just that: my conjecture.
I’ve flown Southwest during the pandemic. Gate agents are very clear that masks must be worn over the nose. Southwest is free to make that rule, whether rational or not. It does appear that Ndifon was not wearing his mask properly (in its statement, Southwest goes even further and claims he was not wearing it all during boarding).
In this age, I don’t give people the benefit of the doubt any longer. Nope, sorry…I’ve become a jaded old man who trusts no one without deep vetting. But I’ll say this. I also had an incident when a flight attendant lied and acted irrationally. In fact, I got thrown off a flight for taking a picture of my seat.
So, no…I cannot totally discount the story onboard. Nor can I set aside my strong feelings that this man was targeted not for his Trump mask, but for failing to wear one even before he started eating or drinking.
We’ll see. I’ve reached out to Ndifon to see if he wants to chat. He’s always welcome on Live and Let’s Fly and we can do the interview live on YouTube to ensure there is no selective editing going on. Hall is welcome too. Any flight attendant who was onboard is also welcome.
I want to get to the bottom of the story. I’d love to be proven wrong in terms of my initial assessment of the matter. I still remain highly skeptical. And I still think slowly eating and drinking to avoid wearing a mask is not being a good neighbor.
Ndifon and Hall seemed like very reasonable people in the interview. I appreciated that Ndifon is not looking to sue, but simply looking for clarification from Southwest. But now that Ndifon has mentioned a third video, I’d very much like to review it.
image: The Rubin Report