A Southwest Airlines passenger who was wearing a pro-Trump face mask was removed from his flight for lowering his mask to eat and the incident was captured on video and posted online. The passenger, who is Black, was wearing a “Trump 2020” mask and a “Black Voices for Trump” hat. The video was widely shared on social media, including by Donald Trump Jr., who slammed the airline.
Trump Jr. wrote, “WTF??? This is disgusting. I’ve been on a thousand flights in the last few months and everyone lowers their masks to eat and drink. I did it on a southwest flight earlier this week.”
The video itself is available here:
— SV News🚨 (@SVNewsAlerts) October 13, 2020
Many people took offense at the airline’s decision, with some saying the passenger was removed because he is Black and others saying it was because of his mask’s message. One reply to the video posted by SV News reads: “@SouthwestAir is racist huh? Let everyone lower masks to eat or drink, but kicked a black guy off the plane for doing it? What kind of crap is this? I’d sue them for a billion dollars to send a message.”
Another said, “WTF .@SouthwestAir all because he supports .@realDonaldTrump !!! So how is that man suppose to eat?!?!?!?”
The Person Recording the Video Said It Was Because of His Mask & Hat, Not for Lowering His Mask While Eating, But the Airline Disagreed
In the video, the passenger, who has not been identified, can be seen speaking to a Southwest crew member with his mask lowered and a snack in his hand. As the crew member informs the passenger that he must get off the plane, the passenger is heard saying calmly, “I have to be somewhere tomorrow.”
The woman taking the video, who is seated in the same row on the other side of the aisle, then asks the crew member, “Can you tell us the policy that prevents him from taking his mask off while he’s eating please?” She then says, “It’s the hat and the mask, it’s not the eating.”
The airline disagreed, however, and told the Washington Examiner in a statement that the passenger in question had been asked multiple times to wear his mask. “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 statement reads. It continues:
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 uphold the well-being and comfort of all Passengers.
The airline’s website indicates in its COVID-19 policy that all passengers above the age of 2 must wear masks that cover the nose and mouth at all times.
Southwest Apologized Earlier This Week for Another Incident in Which a Woman Was Prevented From Boarding Due to Her ‘Lewd’ Attire Until the Captain Lent Her a Shirt
The airline company made headlines recently after a female passenger posted that she’d been denied boarding because of her halter top, which was deemed “lewd, obscene and offensive.” She was eventually permitted to board once the captain offered her his t-shirt. On October 6, Kayla Eubanks posted on Twitter:
Y’all I was KICKED OFF my @SouthwestAir flight because my boobs are “lewd, obscene and offensive.” I was told that passengers may look at me in my attire and be offended. The attire in question: https://t.co/tOAxZsFDU5 pic.twitter.com/S9W9gFXpg6
— Kayla Eubanks (@UziSuzy) October 6, 2020
In a thread, she added, “This @SouthwestAir employee practically did cartwheels to ensure that I wouldn’t get on this plane y’all. I was held at the gate for 30 minutes because of my shirt.” The captain came out and also asked if she could cover up and offered one of his shirts. In the series of videos posted to her Twitter, Eubanks is heard repeatedly asking about the policy. She eventually boarded wearing the captain’s shirt.
According to the New York Post, the airline later apologized to Eubanks. In a statement to the outlet, a representative for the airline said the company “reached out to her directly to apologize for her experience and provided a refund of her fare as a gesture of goodwill.”