Southwest Airlines launches investigation into pilot accused of saying ‘Let’s go Brandon’ during flight

Southwest Airlines says it is launching an internal investigation after a report that one of its pilots used anti-Biden slang over a plane’s public address system during a flight.

“Southwest does not condone Employees sharing their personal political opinions while on the job,” the airline said in a Sunday statement. “Southwest is conducting an internal investigation into the recently reported event and will address the situation directly with any Employee involved while continuing to remind all Employees that public expression of personal opinions while on duty is unacceptable.”

The incident occurred on a Friday morning flight from Houston to Albuquerque, and was reported by an Associated Press reporter who was on the flight. The phrase “Let’s go Brandon” went viral earlier this month, after an NBC interview with NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Brandon Brown.

Fans of NASCAR were chanting “F— Joe Biden” during the interview, and in an apparent attempt to steer the interview away from politics, reporter Kelli Stavast said they were chanting “Let’s Go Brandon,” in support of Brown. The interview took social media by storm, and “Let’s go Brandon” became synonymous with criticism of President Biden. 

The pilot came under fire on social media. “Yes pilot conduct. His words reflect possibility of anger management or substance abuse. It is worth asking,” CNN’s Juliette Kayyem tweeted. “As an experiment, I’d love for an @SouthwestAir pilot to say ‘Long live ISIS’ before taking off. My guess is that 1) the plane would be immediately grounded; 2) the pilot fired; and 3) a statement issued by the airline within a matter of hours,” CNN analysts Asha Rangappa tweeted.

Senator Ted Cruz referred to Rangappa’s tweet as “deranged.” “@cnn is deranged. And no, as a factual matter, supporting genocidal religious zealots is not the same as disagreeing with the current President,” Cruz tweeted.

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