Southwest Airlines, which has publicly apologized to Vice President Joe Biden after a man disrupted an airplane two weeks ago by chanting “F–k Joe Biden,” is in the midst of an internal investigation into what happened, the airline confirmed to HuffPost on Friday.
The investigation is centered on the behavior of flight attendant Brittney Adams, who recorded the racist chant, and the company’s airline crew chief.
In the video, which she posted to Facebook and later to Twitter, Adams can be heard encouraging the man to continue with the chant. At one point, she even advises the man to “keep it going.”
“I recorded that event very quickly and have said that I did not see or hear anyone onboard try to intervene,” she told HuffPost in an email. “However, in my career as a Southwest Airlines stewardess, I have never witnessed an onboard situation so inappropriate. We are currently reviewing the incident and an internal investigation is currently underway. We apologize for what happened, and have taken measures with our employees to ensure this does not happen again.”
Adams did not respond to HuffPost’s request for further comment.
Since the incident on the July 11 flight, which was bound for Orange County, California, Southwest has issued an apology to Biden and canceled the flight. A company representative told HuffPost that it’s unclear what Adams was doing during the flight.
The VP said he wasn’t surprised about what happened but shocked by how video went viral.
In his apology, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly also criticized the customer for his behavior and explained that anyone who behaved in this manner would be “extremely disciplined.”
“Someone interjecting their anger,” Kelly said. “It has always been very clear to me that shouting slurs is unprofessional and I regret that someone tried to do that today on one of our flights.”
According to Philadelphia Magazine, the man who disrupted the flight is allegedly a supervisor with the local chapter of Oath Keepers, an anti-government group.
Oath Keepers helped train participants in a pro-Donald Trump rally in Houston last month, according to The Washington Post.
The man told Philly Magazine in an interview this week that he spoke to Adams right before takeoff and she encouraged him to say the vulgar chant. The man says he had never heard it on any previous flight.
“I did not cause a ruckus, I did not cause a scene, and it was certainly not directed at the vice president,” he told Philly Magazine. “To be quite honest, I do not feel good about myself. I’m ashamed that I ever participated in something like that.”
He said he chose to record it, hoping to start a conversation with the airline.
“I was embarrassed because I thought it was probably a situation where I could have reached out and tried to make things better and talk to a supervisor or talk to the boss and say, ‘Hey, man, this is really embarrassing,’” he said. “But I hadn’t even thought about reaching out to anyone and making it clear what I did was wrong. And I’m embarrassed.”