A plane passenger has sparked a wave of fury online after trying to shame a flight attendant and her airline.
A professor has been blasted online for trying to shame an American airline by posting photos of a flight attendant who wasn’t wearing a face mask aboard his flight.
Amir Attaran, a law and epidemiology professor at the University of Ottawa, flew from Canada to the United States over the weekend, landing in Chicago.
I posted a tweet while on board with photos of a maskless flight attendant, saying she was violating Canada’s coronavirus rules.
“Hey United, why are you breaking the law? Masks are required on all flights out of Canada. Your flight attendant isn’t wearing one!” he wrote, tagging government agencies and Canadian news outlets.
“Canada is not the USA, you f***ers,” I added.
United Airlines responded with a tweet of its own.
“Hi Amir, thanks for bringing this to our attention. We’ve informed the appropriate teams for further review,” the airline said.
Later, after landing in Chicago, Prof Attaran tweeted that he’d had a “friendly chat” with the flight attendant about the situation.
“In Chicago now. She had a friendly chat with the flight attendant, and found she is blameless because United misinforms its crew, ”he said.
“WTF United? Look here: no flights leaving Canada, masks are mandatory the ‘entire travel journey’. FOLLOW THE LAW!
“United should be prohibited from flying to Canada immediately. Our country, our rules. Even the supervisor I talked with in Chicago didn’t understand Canadian rules apply to flights departing from Canada.”
Unlike Canada, the US no longer requires passengers or crew members to wear masks.
Prof Attaran was born in the US, but lives in Canada and holds dual citizenship.
Several Twitter users hit back at the professor, accusing him of being a tattletale.
“Do you know what kind of hell flight attendants have been through during this pandemic? Dealing with harassment and bullying non-stop? And you post this poor woman’s photo and target her? And then admit later she didn’t even know?” wrote journalist Yashar Ali.
“Leave her alone. This is beyond creepy. A professor taking photos of a young worker to shame her. Maybe don’t fly if you can’t handle seeing someone’s face,” said Christina Pushaw, the press secretary of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
(Mr DeSantis, a Republican, was an outspoken opponent of Covid restrictions throughout most of the pandemic.)
Ms Pushaw also accused United Airlines of throwing its flight attendant “under the bus”.
“Seriously, United? You throw your employees under the bus like this in public and then wonder why you have to cancel so many flights due to staffing shortages? She didn’t do anything wrong. This guy is a creep to post this.”
Airline staffing shortages led to at least 14,000 domestic flights being canceled or delayed in the US over the weekend.
“Oh my god you were that kid in school weren’t you?” quipped YouTuber and podcaster Donut Operator.
“Sure was. She went to university and did great. You were that kid behind the McDonald’s counter weren’t you? Prof Attaran shot back.
More broadly, Prof Attaran reacted to the backlash by calling out America’s record during the pandemic. Its death toll stands at more than a million – easily the highest in the world – with more than 88 million infections recorded.
Meanwhile about 42,000 Canadians have died from Covid.
“Bunch of Yankees mad about this and trying to ratio. HAVE FUN,” he tweeted.
“Don’t like Canada’s laws? Then keep your American companies in your own country. Our country, our rules. That’s why your Covid death rate is triple ours, a**holes.”
“Lots of mad Republican MAGA (Make America Great Again) Yankees want to ratio me for advocating Canada’s Covid laws. OK, let’s do it,” he continued.
He pointed out that Canada had suffered 1,097 Covid deaths per million people, about a third as bad as the US, with 3,044 deaths per million people.
“THERE’S YOUR RATIO YANKS!” I have added.
“The number of ignorant, whiny anti-vaxxers complaining to the university about my low opinion of them is very funny.
“See Americans, you get crazy mad about Covid safety and attack science – and then you die. You drank the (Republican Party) Kool Aid and it’s mass suicide, basically.”
Prof Attaran then brought up America’s looser gun laws.
“If you Republican Reptiles dislike Canada’s Covid safety laws, you’ll TOTALLY HATE our gun safety laws – if you’re not already shot and dead,” he said.
“Cuz Yankees murder their own far more than Canadians. Even kids. It’s awful. I’m so glad I emigrated from California to Canada.”
One exchange turned particularly bitter, as author and podcaster Michael Malice told Prof Attaran to “kindly stay in your s***hole country in the future”.
“Wanna talk s***hole countries, honey?” the professor responded, proceeding to list a number of unflattering American statistics.
“Shorter life expectancy. More homelessness. More gun murders. More hunger. Lower graduation rate. Higher teen pregnancies. Higher Covid death rate. Let’s not forget insurrections.
“From Canada with love, honey.”
At the time of writing, Prof Attaran was still responding to critics online, saying Canadians were “not interested in public health lessons from killers”.