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Did Someone Get Kicked Off a Flight for Being a Trump Supporter?

When perusing the web today, I started seeing articles about a woman who was kicked off a flight for being a Trump supporter.  This didn’t seem quite right to me, primarily because I don’t see politics intersecting with everyday air travel much.

Flight attendants seem to care more about whether I get my luggage into the overhead bin promptly rather than whether or not I’m voting for Gary Johnson.

Still, I was intrigued.  I don’t talk about my personal politics much, but freedom of speech is a huge deal to me, and I love the famous quote erroneously attributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  (It was actually uttered by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, who was a fan of Voltaire, but was the one who put all those free speech ideas together in a very pithy way.)

So I looked into it.

It turned out that a lot of the original reporting on this was wrong*.  The person wasn’t kicked off but was almost kicked off.  (*note: this article was later corrected, but see comments section).

But why?

Was it because the person was a Trump supporter?

donald trump

From reading the original reporting, the follow-up commentary should have stated, “person who was almost kicked off flight also happened to be a Trump supporter.”

That’s as if I became excessively drunk on a flight and the reporting contained something like:

  • Person who is female kicked off flight
  • Ethnically Jewish person kicked off flight
  • Catholic kicked off flight

Yes, these are statements about me and also facts about what would have happened, but are a bit misleading.

The original article is an interesting read and does explore what makes people uncomfortable/nervous on the flight.

But the point that he was emphasizing was that the person was being excessively supportive of Trump on the flight, to the point where she appeared unhinged

It wasn’t what she was saying, it was how she was saying it.

From the original article:

After shouting “Trump” until she reached the very rear of the aircraft, Maria aroused the passion of a Trump foe who she would later describe as “a homosexual” and a verbal altercation ensued…

Meanwhile, Maria turned around and began pummeling her seat mate on the other side with the same conversation. The purser walked by and the passenger complained that Maria would not leave him alone and be quiet. She asked if he wanted her removed from the flight and he responded that he just wanted to be left alone.

The Trump piece was just an extra detail.

I would have received the same treatment if my fervent love for Star Wars went a bit too far on a flight and I started harassing and arguing with people who were Star Trek fans (or just wouldn’t agree with me that Star Wars is the best franchise ever).

If you read through the article, you’ll see it was her behavior–not her ideology–that almost got her kicked off.

The author has an interview with her at the end.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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4 comments

  1. The passenger does in fact seem like a typical Trump supporter.

    There’s free speech and there is empowering a demagogue, or normalizing wide scale racism, inciting violence, climate change denying, religious intolerance, scamming, cheating, sexual harassment or even attack. Among around 100 other despicable traits.

    Oh… wait…deleting emails, yeah that’s comparable. Goodness help this country, its embarrassing. Truly.

    You brought up politics!

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      I agree with your point that free speech cannot be used to incite violence, etc (and I’m fairly sure the quote I stated was not intended to cover that as well). I suppose I should say, I believe people should be allowed to state their political preference for the election outcome, and shouldn’t be removed merely for advocating that a specific candidate win.

      Of course, airlines don’t have to adhere to free speech, but I haven’t seen airlines get this specifically political.

      • As people keep saying: there is a difference between free speech and just being disruptive on an airplane. This women went out of her way to be loud and annoying with her feelings and as soon as someone else stepped in she immediately turned to using slurs and slander. She wasn’t almost removed for “stating” her hopeful political outcome. She was almost removed for being a rude and arrogant pissant about it while attacking others for disagreeing with her.

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