Viral JetBlue Incident - Episode preview and Article
Written by: Alvina Anwar - Writer for the Topilitical article chain
Unlike most of the issues covered in our article chain, this event isn’t widely known or iconic as others talked about, such as our article on the Derek Chauvin trial. However, we felt it was important to explore the depths of this case. Although it may seem minimal, unpopular, or hysterical to many, it unintentionally mimics the profundity of modern racism and how each role who plays their part is affected.
In late October of 2020, a passenger who remains anonymous attempted to fly from Norman Manley Airport in Kingston, Jamaica to JFK Airport in NYC. It was just supposed to be a regular flight, but chaos took place before the plane got the chance to take off. This passenger claimed to have booked a ticket, 25A, yet a fellow rider has already seated herself there.
This sends our passenger into an emotional outrage, escalating to using extreme profanity and even the N-word and other disrespectful terms multiple times to the other passenger after she allegedly kneed him in the stomach. It's all shown in a gruesome three and a half minute long video on the 'TMZ website. In this video, he is shown with his mask down, revealing his facial features. Nonetheless, people have still not been able to find out who he is.
The one thing that seems to confuse and anger many is that this took place in Jamaica, an African country. This means that, as shown in the video, most people on the flight are African American or come of African descent. The passenger who was throwing racial slurs around was Caucasian, making him the odd one out in this situation. For him to use a racial slur seemed ironic to several viewers of the situation and video.
Given his uncensored language, both the person he had confronted, attendants of the plane, as well as other passengers got involved in the situation. Eventually, he was escorted off the plane by security due to the long delay and racist disruptions he made. In the meanwhile, you can hear other people who had viewed the situation cheerfully and applaud as he was taken into custody. After he walks away, the camera stops rolling, making it unclear what happened in the aftermath.
Few people cared about what happened after he was taken away by security. To be fair, why would they? After the disgusting terms, he used and how he treated others due to their skin colour, you can imagine nobody minded what happened to him as a person. However, there are details on it. According to the same TMZ website mentioned earlier, JetBlue Airlines, the one our passenger planned to fly on that day, has banned him as a consequence of his actions.
"We have zero tolerance for racism or harassment, and after reviewing this customer's abhorrent racist behaviour, we have determined he is no longer welcome to fly JetBlue." stated the spokesperson of JetBlue Airlines. That was the end of it.
Or was it?
Although many articles claim the story ends here, theories shot up regarding the case. First of all, there are no signs of the passenger even existing after the plane ride. There were no updates from him, his family or anyone else. The only update we got is that he was no longer allowed to fly the airline, but other than that, there's nothing. What happened after this situation, and why have they still not named him? Is it an issue of privacy, or something more?
One reason why people find this suspicious is because scenarios like this have occurred before, but unrolled differently. For example, there was a racist plane incident on Ryanair Airlines just a few years ago. The story is very similar. Both of these stories involve an older, caucasian man yelling disrespectful names to African American flight attendants and other passengers. However, in this scenario, not only is the passenger named (David Mesher in the Ryanair incident), but he also had a chance to apologize publicly and move on with his life. Unlike here, where our passenger remains unnamed and unheard of. It’s like he disappeared from the face of the earth. So, this leaves many to ask the question; did he?
With nobody to confirm this statement, many people are left confused as it's been months, nearly half a year, since the incident. However, we still haven't heard anything from our infamous yet invisible passenger. So, where does the debate lie, you ask? Well, the controversy in this situation stems from how it was handled. Although it's a unanimous agreement that how the passenger acted was wrong, some doubt the intentions of those around him at that moment.
This discussion will be available as of 2021-05-09 on platforms including, Spotify, Google Podcasts and topilitical.com. David Barbu, this podcast's founder, will be discussing this situation with two other Co-Hosts, including Omar Gaballa, as well as Sheng Chang Li. Stay tuned for this eagerly awaited episode and remember: Stay on top. Stay Topilitical.