You may remember on Tuesday, July 3, when a story that has now come to be known as the #PlaneBae Saga went viral on social media.
It began when Rosey Blair live tweeted what appeared to be a budding romance between two strangers on a flight to Dallas with Blair and her boyfriend.
In the aftermath of the Twitter thread, Blair and the man involved in the story, former soccer player Euan Holden, received the internet star treatment. They got some fun gifts from airlines and even appeared on morning talk shows.
But not everyone was on board.
#PlaneBae is ? He’s on a full-fledged media spree, accepting free flights & gifts, meanwhile the girl doesn’t want to participate in any of it but he’s doing it all anyway. A man that into himself can never be into anyone else. Find someone better girl.
— Jay (@jayne_tweets) July 6, 2018
Things have not been so easy for the anonymous woman Twitter named #PrettyPlaneGirl. After the story went viral, she attempted to retain her privacy.
But in a move that should surprise no one, the internet, spurred on by a video from Blair saying the woman was shy but that Blair bet people could be sneaky and find her, couldn’t take the right hint and decided to track her down.
Then the online harassment began. Eventually she was forced to delete all of her social media accounts.
People are calling out Blair for encouraging people to find the woman online and, after Blair saw her original posts go viral, trying to extend the story and cash in on someone else’s private life.
So, like, I'm not alone here right. The #planebae story is kinda creepy and borderline stalker-ish.
And then after she went viral she wanted a job from Buzzfeed?
— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) July 5, 2018
For the first time since the story went viral, #PrettyPlaneGirl is speaking publicly (though anonymously) about her inadvertent fame.
This statement, released through her lawyer, Wesley Mullen “of New York City-based law firm Mullen PC,” raises serious questions about whether the #PlaneBae Saga was a cute love-story for the modern era or a serious and harmful invasion of two stranger’s privacy:
“I did not ask for and do not seek attention. #PlaneBae is not a romance — it is a digital-age cautionary tale about privacy, identity, ethics and consent.”
You think we have achieved gender equality? The guy from the #PlaneBae story is going on talk shows, making youtube videos about it and enjoying the fame, while the woman got doxxed, slut shamed and had to delete her social media. That tells you everything.
— Neha Ramneek Kapoor (@PWNeha) July 13, 2018
The post’s virality has not been a happy ride for “PrettyPlaneGirl:”
“Strangers publicly discussed my private life based on patently false information. I have been doxxed, shamed, insulted and harassed.”
“Voyeurs have come looking for me online and in the real world.”
Doxxing, one of the internet’s worst tendencies, is when a person’s private information is released publicly on the internet against their will.
The woman who had her privacy violated by #PlaneBae has released a statement. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves. Let this be a lesson in leaving strangers alone on airplanes AND online. You are not entitled to the lives of others. https://t.co/HehJOJpNbT pic.twitter.com/kDuziEmii6
— ella dawson (@brosandprose) July 13, 2018
Even in the immediate aftermath of the post’s virality, many people online questioned the morality of posting pictures and video of two strangers without their consent, even if the posts cast them in a positive light.
Now that it’s clear the “saga” had unintended consequences on the subject’s lives, Blair has deleted her posts and apologized publicly for releasing them:
“The last thing I want to do is remove agency and autonomy from another woman.”
“I wish I could communicate the shame I feel in having done this, but I truly feel that at this point my feelings are irrelevant.”
Euan Holden also posted a regretful message on Twitter:
— Euan Holden (@EuanHolden) July 12, 2018
Here’s #PrettyPlaneGirl’s full statement (her real name has been omitted from the article to respect her wish for privacy):
“I am a young professional woman. On July 2, I took a commercial flight from New York to Dallas. Without my knowledge or consent, other passengers photographed me and recorded my conversation with a seatmate. They posted images and recordings to social media, and speculated unfairly about my private conduct.”
“Since then, my personal information has been widely distributed online. Strangers publicly discussed my private life based on patently false information. I have been doxxed, shamed, insulted and harassed. Voyeurs have come looking for me online and in the real world.”
“I did not ask for and do not seek attention. #PlaneBae is not a romance – it is a digital-age cautionary tale about privacy, identity, ethics and consent.”
“Please continue to respect my privacy, and my desire to remain anonymous.”
Aside from everything I've already said about the #PlaneBae story, I think it's worth reiterating:
1. The story was basically a work of fiction. Rosey Blair told everything through a biased lens – we have no idea what she said was true or not, since none of us were there.
— Celeste P. (@Celeste_pewter) July 13, 2018
The need to respect others’ privacy in a world where we’re constantly exploiting each other for internet content is a serious topic our culture needs to discuss.
This seems like a good place to start.
The #PlaneBae story reveals how we’re now viewing other human beings, just living their lives in the same vicinity as us, as opportunities to make ourselves famous.
— Dazed (@Dazed) July 9, 2018