UPDATED: United Airlines is making headlines again after drawing ire just two weeks ago.
The airline’s CEO apologized on Monday after a disturbing video surfaced showing a man getting forcibly dragged out of his seat by three security guards. The viral video ignited a social media uproar from Hollywood figures, media personalities, and Twitter users alike.
Passenger Audra D. Bridges posted a video on Facebook in which a man can be heard screaming as guards grab and pull him across the aisle by his arms. A passenger says, “Please, my God. What are you doing? No. This is wrong. Oh my God. Look at what you did to him,” as the United workers carry on.
Another passenger, Jayse D. Anspach, tweeted a video of the incident.
Another horrific video shows the man bleeding and repeating the phrase, “Just kill me.”
United CEO Oscar Munoz released a statement on the airline’s official Twitter account on Monday saying that the incident would be reviewed and the passenger would be contacted to “address and resolve this situation.”
“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United,” Munoz said in the statement. “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.”
Munoz also released a statement on Tuesday apologizing specifically for the passenger’s removal.
“The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.
I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.
It’s never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We’ll communicate the results of our review by April 30th.
I promise you we will do better.”
The airline said the Sunday evening flight from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. United spokesman Charlie Hobart told the Associated Press that airline workers asked four randomly-selected customers to leave the plane to make room for stand-by United employees. One of the four didn’t comply.
A passenger told the Washington Post that the man informed airline employees that he couldn’t give up his seat because he was a doctor with patients to see in the morning. He allegedly yelled that he was being targeted because he was Chinese.
“We followed the right procedures,” Hobart told AP. “That plane had to depart. We wanted to get our customers to their destinations, and when one gentleman refused to get off the aircraft, we had to call the Chicago Police Department.”
Hollywood responded with both outrage and humor as stars took to social media to voice their feelings. They reacted similarly a few weeks ago when the airline allegedly refused to allow two girls to board their flight because they were wearing leggings.
“Having flown #united last week, I feel very blessed to not be tweeting this message from a hospital bed,” “Frozen” and “Beauty and the Beast” actor Josh Gad wrote.
“Getting on a United flight this morning. Excited to, I don’t know… stay on? … For the comfort and safety of the other passengers, please remember we will be resorting to cannibalism BY GROUP NUMBER” #united,” filmmaker Joss Whedon tweeted.
“So @united sucks. But the Chicago police who dragged the man off the flight are also monsters. Police using unnecessary force, again,” a concerned Kumail Nanjiani, star of “Silicon Valley,” wrote.
“This could be me or you next time. Shame on @United who broke customer trust + instigated this. Shame on the airport cops. Cowardly assault,” director Ava DuVernay tweeted.
“cannot wait to use “i will re-accommodate your ass” in my next fight,” model Chrissy Teigen said, referring to Munoz’s apology.
“I am appalled and absolutely disgusted….this is unacceptable,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming” star Zendaya said.
“Wow @united. New low,” “2 Broke Girls” star Kat Dennings put it simply.
“Am I only one wondering if United thing wouldn’t happen if every airport employee w a badge hadn’t been somehow emboldened since January? … I guess what I’m saying is Bernie would have offered more vouchers,” comedian Andy Richter said.
“Jet Blue’s new slogan – extra leg room and we won’t physically drag you down the aisle screaming in pain,” “Billy on the Street” star Billy Eichner teased.
“United Airlines new slogan: ‘Fly the friendly skies once you get off the scary ground,'” Albert Brooks said.
“I bet 90 percent of today’s calls between @United and the FAA are about the costs of enforcing a ban on handheld devices,” “Community” creator Dan Harmon wrote.
“I feel like Pepsi and United are pulling from the same employment agencies,” comedian Whitney Cummings joked.
“Flying United? You have to drag me onto the plane,” media pundit Dan Savage joked.