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United Under Fire For Allowing Man To Wear ‘Rope. Tree. Journalist.’ T-Shirt On Flight Despite Passenger Complaint

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United Airlines is once again attracting large amounts of negative attention after allowing a passenger to fly across the country wearing a threatening T-shirt.

The shirt, which has previously been noticed by social media being sold outside of the Republican National Convention, read:

“Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.”

The incident was brought to light by Jessica Sidman, the food editor of The Washingtonian magazine, whose brother—a journalist who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of death threats—was on the flight and snapped this picture.

Sidman’s brother approached the flight crew and said he wasn’t comfortable with one of the passengers on the flight threatening the lives of other passengers.

Shortly thereafter, he was escorted off the plane by staff and informed there was nothing they could do about the offensive message.

“I relayed that the shirt was not just offensive, it was threatening the lives of other passengers.”

He was offered a later flight, but Sidman’s brother turned it down.

He explained why to CNBC in an email:

“I didn’t want this to be about United appeasing me, a single customer. I wanted the airline I flew not to sanction the threatening of murder of any group.”

During the flight, United said nothing to the passenger about his shirt. Two years ago, the company was criticized for throwing two young women off a flight for wearing leggings.

Twitter was outraged at United for their inaction against this implied threat of violence.

Many people imagined things would have been different if a group other than journalists had been singled out.

A threat of violence against a vulnerable group is not a joke.

Companies like United Airlines should realize this and make sure their policy reflects it.

Have you listened to the first season of George Takei’s podcast, ‘Oh Myyy Pod!‘? In season one we explored the racially charged videos that have taken the internet by storm.

We’re hard at work on season two so be sure to subscribe here so you don’t miss it when it goes live.
Here’s one of our favorite episodes from season one. Enjoy!


Written by Collin Gossel

Collin Gossel is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York, but there are nights when he looks up at the stars and wistfully thinks to himself “there’s got to be more out there…” You can catch Collin improvising new musicals every Tuesday night at the Magnet Theater’s Musical Megawatt, or follow his unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram @CollinGossel.--