Ava DuVernay, Joss Whedon, and Chrissy Teigen were among those to criticize the airline over the disturbing video.
Only a few weeks after receiving backlash for not allowing two girls to fly in leggings, United Airlines is again making headlines after a passenger was forcibly removed from an overbooked flight to make room for United employees to travel.
Another traveler told the Washington Post that four passengers were asked to leave a flight from Chicago to St. Louis on Sunday night to make room for four airline employees. One man declined to leave, saying he was a doctor who had to see patients in the morning. The airline manager would not relent, and the man yelled that he was being targeted because he was Chinese, a passenger told the Post. When he refused to give up his seat, police officers boarded, pulled him screaming from his seat, and dragged him by his arms through the aisle — a scene that horrified other passengers, according to videos taken by witnesses and posted on the internet.
Another video, recorded after the initial incident, shows the man bleeding and repeating, “Just kill me.”
In a statement posted to Twitter, United CEO Oscar Munoz said, “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”
The news and troubling videos sparked widespread criticism of the airline, including by many in Hollywood.
“This could be me or you next time,” Selma director Ava DuVernay wrote on Twitter. “Shame on @United who broke customer trust + instigated this. Shame on the airport cops. Cowardly assault.”
Others to slam the airline included Joss Whedon, Kumail Nanjiani, and Chrissy Teigen. See more reactions below.