Southwest Airlines has launched an internal investigation into an Associated Press reporter’s claim that a pilot said the anti-Biden slogan “Let’s go, Brandon” over the loudspeaker, spurring calls on the left for his firing.
In a Sunday statement, the airline said that it “does not tolerate any behavior that encourages divisiveness” in response to AP reporter Colleen Long, who tweeted that she asked the crew to unlock the cockpit door after hearing the pilot use the phrase.
“TFW [That Feeling When] you’re trying to go on vacation and then the pilot says the very thing you’re working on over the loud speaker and you have to try to get [his] comment but then almost get removed from plane,” she said in a Saturday tweet.
She added: “Also in defense of airline I was asking them to open locked cock pit and probably sounded insane!”
Southwest distanced itself from the comment, which became an anti-Biden euphemism after an NBC NASCAR reporter said Oct. 2 that a Talladega Superspeedway crowd chanting “F—- Joe Biden” was actually saying “Let’s go, Brandon,” a reference to winning driver Brandon Brown.
“Southwest does not condone Employees sharing their personal political opinions while on the job serving our Customers, and one Employee’s individual perspective should not be interpreted as the viewpoint of Southwest and its collective 54,000 Employees,” said the airline’s statement.
The AP story published Saturday included the line: “On Friday morning on a Southwest flight from Houston to Albuquerque, the pilot signed off his greeting over the public address system with the phrase, to audible gasps from some passengers.”
The episode touched off a heated debate on social media, with some calling for the pilot to be fired.
“Can I get 1,000 people to quickly comment #FIRED so we can pressure @SouthwestAir to FIRE the MAGA pilot who said ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ (which means F*ck Joe Biden) over the loudspeaker?” tweeted Democratic operative Jon Cooper.
Said pro-Biden tweeter Majid Padellan, who runs the popular @BrooklynDad_Defiant account: “The LAST thing I want when I’m flying is to know that the pilot of my plane only cares about half of their passengers because of their political views. The Southwest pilot should be #FIRED immediately.”
Meanwhile, conservatives responded by tweeting examples of celebrities and others making profane anti-Trump statements and urging Southwest to stand up for the pilot.
Christina Pushaw, spokesperson for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, tweeted that Southwest’s “rambling, mealy-mouthed statement should have been 3 words: LET’S GO, BRANDON!”
“For everyone who says ‘politics should be kept out of the workplace’ - you first. Teachers need to stop expressing political opinions in the classroom. Corporations need to stop donating to the BLM org and other Marxist front groups. And stop boycotting states over politics,” she added.
Fox News contributor and radio host Lisa Boothe said, “Southwest, don’t cave to the woke mob. Let’s Go Brandon is being chanted at stadiums across America and was the #1 song in the country. Brandon is polling at 42%. No one likes Brandon.
She was referring to Mr. Biden’s latest numbers in an NBC News poll released Sunday that showed 42% approved of his job performance and 54% approved.
Some commenters called the catchphrase racist, even though the slogan has been embraced by Black musical artists whose songs are topping the charts.
North Carolina-based rapper Bryson Gray’s “Let’s Go Brandon” was the number-one downloaded song Sunday on the iTunes top 10, while New Jersey rapper Loza Alexander’s “Lets Go Brandon (extended version) was fourth.
Five of the top 10 iTunes rap and hip-hop songs were all versions of “Let’s Go Brandon,” including a remix by Godz Child and a tune by Topher, D.Cure & the Marine Rapper.