Pop Ethics Quiz: The “Offensive” Mask

Apparently a passenger was kicked off an Allegiant Airlines flight for wearing a “Let’s Go Brandon!” mask. he was told to remove the mask and replace it. He refused.

Let’s make this quick:

Was the airline fair and reasonable to insist that he remove the mask?

My take: Allegiant, and I’m sure it is not alone in this, hasn’t kept its dress code up to date. Allegiant’s dress code, according to its website, “is relaxed and casual,” but fliers are expected to “present a clean, well-groomed and tasteful appearance.” Whatever that means. With language like that, almost anything out of the norm could be judged to be a violation.

Regarding messages on attire, all that is mentioned is T-shirts: “T-shirts that…bear any offensive/ inappropriate messaging or pictures” are not allowed. That means, since language matters, that caps, carry-ons and masks with “offensive/ inappropriate messaging or pictures” aren’t covered by the rules, but certainly that’s a legalistic verdict that wouldn’t carry much weight in dispute. The spirit of the rule is clear.

Assuming that the ban on “offensive/ inappropriate messaging or pictures” applies to masks, then, was the airline reasonable to eject the Brandon fan?

I conclude that it was. Not only is the real message of the mask offensive, it is intended to be offensive to certain individuals. Airplanes are no appropriate spaces for political or partisan grandstanding. Does that mean MAGA caps are properly forbidden? Yes. Black Lives Matter proclamations? Oh yes.

Flags and patriotic imagery? Nope. The line is drawn there.

19 thoughts on “Pop Ethics Quiz: The “Offensive” Mask

  1. As long as the airline is consistent. Would a BLM shirt get someone kicked off? Or someone wearing a shirt saying they want to punch a fascist? I suspect that one of those shirts would probably pass.

    • I’ve seen people fly with BLM caps. If that is acceptable, then LGB masks are also fine. Consistency of enforcement is more important for airlines. Otherwise they lose their moral authority to enforce ANY rules.

  2. Oh, hell to the no. It’s called FREE SPEECH. I am purchasing an airline ticket, not taking a political purity test.

    If I got to remove everyone wearing clothing with things i found offensive on it, half my plane would be empty. If I put up with your crap, you out up with mine.

    • Your email was fake. You can’t comment here without giving me your real email and name. That’s your last comment posted here, unless I get both.My email is on the site, and “nottellingyou@gmail” is not only a violation of commenting terms, but it’s embarrassingly pedestrian.

      • I reviewed your commenting policy and it is right there at #2.

        It says that the real name won’t be revealed. That should alleviate any concern about doxxing.

        The only thing I would add is that e-mails are not sold or used for any type of solicitation. I am VERY careful about giving out my real e-mail. Often, it leads to multiple daily e-mails. Sometimes, the unsubscribe function does not work.

        Of course, those suggestions are only helpful if the policy gets read.

        To the substance of his remark though, his comment illustrates why you should be considerate of other people and observant of the Golden Rule. When people start ignoring the Golden Rule, others follow suit.

        -Jut

        • I can confirm that I have been on this site for years now, and never have I even received an email from this site unless I click the notify me button below a post.

    • I actually have more sympathy for this view than Jack does, but not by much.

      I think that we actually have to talk about what this means and what it looks like in the long run.

      Because Jack is right, airlines are privately owned corporations, and they can do damn near whatever they want so long as what they do doesn’t discriminate along certain lines of protected classes, and political party isn’t a protected class (although perhaps it should be).

      At the end of the day, currently, if an airline discriminants against people wearing, as an example, MAGA hats, but no other political iconography, they can do that. In fact, not allowing them to do that would be an infringement on *their* first amendment rights.

      But where does that leave us? For a myriad of reasons, corporate leadership, at least from a public-facing perspective, tilts left. There will be no airline that allows MAGA hats and bans BLM clothing. The snarky answer from the left always seems to include a variation of “Well, why don’t you build your own thing?” fully failing to come to terms with the fact that progressives have never built a thing in the entirety of history, instead glomming on to built things, tearing them down, and looking for the next thing to destroy.

      Currently, conservatives are coming to grips with this reality in tech, we’re having the reorganizing that social media went through 20 years ago: A dozen different entrants into the market, eventually, we’ll pool towards one or two. So…. Do we start building our own airline? And where does that end?

      • Believing an airline has a “right” to do something is different than supporting the use of that right. I can go publish racist screeds and join the KKK as a “right,” but you can still criticize how I exercise my rights.

        I am just damn tired of the virtue signaling.

  3. It amazes me that airlines and other business operations only seem to enforce these rules against people they think will not raise a fuss. Most chain retail stores won’t actually proscribe employees from stopping shoplifters or otherwise intervening in preventing a theft and for good reason; it avoids employees from getting hurt or lawsuits.

    Alex’s point is well taken as I too have seen BLM attire on aircraft as well as all sorts of “anti-something slogans. I have also witnessed certain classes of flyers flagrantly violating the rules during take-off and landings and nothing is said to them.

    Obviously, rules are for those who are conditioned to follow them and not for those who are expected to initiate a bigger confrontation.

    My question is why, if they have rules such as these, are inappropriately attired passengers allowed to get on the plane in the first place. At that point, the passenger has virtually no choice but to put up a fuss. If a passenger’s attire does not meet airline regulations tell them at the time of check-in so they can make adjustments if they wish and not create problems for other passengers because of the delays caused by the disagreement.

    • Because airlines in particular have an obligation to make sure that no one raises a fuss, Chris.

      “Let’s Go Brandon” is an obscene if humorous expression, and yes, it will tend to “trigger” a particular “side” in our society. BLM, spelled out or otherwise, is not the same. In addition, many if not most people who use the expression don’t really mean it in its most formal sense of a organized political movement that clearly does have financial irregularities.

      When I get on a plane, my objective is to get to another place in one piece in a dangerous flying object. If you know any flight attendants or other commercial airline personnel, they will tell you the same thing, and tell you stories of how difficult that is to do these days with tensions aboard. Of course, goofy airline advertising over the years hasn’t helped make this clear, but pandemic times should have reinforced it.

      Is this fair “politically,” in that one “side” or “team” must be more circumspect about displaying tendentious messages in this environment? Maybe not. But that’s the way it is. Allegiant Airlines (whoever they are) had no choice but to act in this case in a way they might not have otherwise.

      • You could barely see that there was any writing on the mask. They certainly had a choice; the flight attendant alone was offended and decided to exact petty Karen vengeance. Literally no one else would have noticed or cared. That’s what makes this such bad PR for the airline, regardless of whether she was technically inside of the rules.

        • I wouldn’t want my flight attendant triggered, whether or not I personally would react that way in her position. Actually, my own feeling in general is that all messages on a facemask other than the most innocuous corporate or organizational logo are immature and egotistical. The mask is right where the mouth is, and is literally “in your face” of the other person. The fact that people like AOC do this proves the point. I think we’re too far gone on logos and messages on sweatshirts to regulate most of that. But Let’s Go Brandon on a mask on a plane – sorry, if the crew doesn’t like it, off you go.

          • “my own feeling in general is that all messages on a facemask other than the most innocuous corporate or organizational logo are immature and egotistical.”

            Bingo, and I’ll go further: I feel the same way about what’s on caps and shirts. I once read some wag who said that one’s IQ is inversely proportional to the number of words on his or her T-shirt, and I can’t get it out of my head.

      • A friend
        Because airlines in particular have an obligation to make sure that no one raises a fuss, Chris.

        I am fully aware of the needs of those engaged in providing public transit services. Your answer fails to address the issue of why they seem not to target certain classes of people for their attire who they think will not follow the rules without making a fuss. It is the fussy people they are protecting.

        You said:
        “Let’s Go Brandon” is an obscene if humorous expression, and yes, it will tend to “trigger” a particular “side” in our society. BLM, spelled out or otherwise, is not the same.

        I say bunk. First the word Fuck is used so ubiquitously in our society that it has lost its ability to shock people, so any euphemism is equally unable to shock. FJB is no different than a sign that reads, “Down with Nixon”. What is offensive is that the Left wants to control its information dominance by calling opposing points of view offensive while simultaneously taking umbrage when their messages are called into question. That is what this is all about.

        BLM is a racist supremacist organization and a fraud. I take offense every time I see their name plastered on city streets using my tax dollars to promote a bunch of race hucksters wealthy. I find it obscene that the organization has conned hundreds of corporations to donate millions so BLM leadership can go on buying sprees. Those donations were derived from sales revenues which means they are causing me to support a fraud through higher prices.

        BLM has done absolutely nothing for elevating Blacks in our society and has done everything possible to create divisions among demographic groups. The entire group is obscene. I suppose I simply need to be more vocal when such imagery confronts me. Is that what it will take for organizations to treat people equally?

        Last paragraph in my original post.

        My question is why, if they have rules such as these, are inappropriately attired passengers allowed to get on the plane in the first place. At that point, the passenger has virtually no choice but to put up a fuss. If a passenger’s attire does not meet airline regulations tell them at the time of check-in so they can make adjustments if they wish and not create problems for other passengers because of the delays caused by the disagreement.

        If they have a particular obligation to make sure no one raises a fuss why do these episodes usually arise when people are in the cabin or during the boarding process and too late to make adjustments?

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