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Southwest Pilot Returns to Work After Homophobic, Sexist Rant

Southwest Pilot Returns to Work After Homophobic, Sexist Rant


A Southwest Airlines pilot has returned to work after his homophobic, sexist rant was accidentally broadcast to air traffic control and other aircraft during an afternoon flight from Austin to San Diego. An audio recording of the obscene tirade, which occurred in March, was recently obtained by KPRC-TV in Houston.

The Houston-based pilot’s remarks focused on the airline’s Chicago employees. In Huffington Post’s transcript, the pilot describes one crew as “eleven f***ing over-the-top, f***ing a**-f***ing homosexuals and a granny.”

“After that,” the rant continues, “it was just a continuous stream of gays and grannies and grandes…I dont give a f***. I hate 100 percent of their a**es.” He also describes one female coworker as a “granny” and another as “part do-able.”

At one point in the recording, another voice cautions that “whoever’s transmitting, you better watch what you’re saying.” The pilot continues, however, until the second voice chimes in again and tells him he has a “stuck mike.”

The Examiner reports that many controllers and LGBT groups were offended by the remarks. FAA employees filed a report and sent a recording to Southwest, which prompted the pilot’s temporary suspension without pay. The airline would not comment on the length of the pilot’s suspension. The pilot also attended mandatory diversity training before being reinstated.

In a statement issued after KPRC-TV’s report, a Southwest Vice Present said, “[The pilot] has formally apologized to FAA controllers and he knows what he did cannot happen again. On behalf of the pilot, I want to apologize to our employees, to our customers, and to fellow pilots in the industry. This was an isolated incident with one employee making a poor decision using inexcusable language and is not representative of the 35,000 hardworking, respectful employees of Southwest Airlines.”

“This person has absolutely no respect for gay people, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, women, people who are heavy and people who are over a certain age, whatever that is,” responded Cece Cox, CEO of LGBT advocacy group Resource Center Dallas. “Therefore I can’t imagine that there’s a whole lot of people that this person wants to work with. He’s probably creating a work environment that’s hostile and unsafe, unfriendly, unwelcoming.”

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9:48AM PDT on May 28, 2012

I notice that Southwest apologized for "one employee making a poor decision using inexcusable language," But DID NOT say the pilot's attitude and opinion did not represent that of the airline.

5:35AM PDT on May 27, 2012

Apparently he only likes straight men (any age is ok?) and "doable" young women. Plus he has no common sense. Diversity training is supposed to help this?

2:20PM PDT on May 26, 2012

"WTF" has enough clout that my (twenty-something Y-O) daughter was shocked when I, her father, used it (I think it was in a text). All of my children were "allowed" to use "those words" when they were old enough to decide if the audience was appropriate. The oldest was given such permission and said so to her younger brother when he "tattled" on her. We then explained that he was correct. She had demonstrated that she had used the word with an inappropriate audience. In most cases, the permission was granted when they entered middle school. They would typically use the words among friends (some of whom would comment that they were not allowed to say them), but never around teachers, or mixed adults.

8:51AM PDT on May 26, 2012

This arrogant misogynist still has a job? As a commercial pilot? And at Southwest, yet? Pardon my language, but what the fuck is Southwest's justification for keeping him as a representative of their company? You would perhaps prefer WTF, but there's no clout in that, is there?

7:29AM PDT on May 26, 2012

If this man had made these remarks about Afican-Americans, do you think Southwest would still have employed him? There would have been (and rightly so) such an outcry from the black groups, the media, individuals that Southwest would have had to fire him. His remarks became public; they were no longer private and, yes, we are responsible for our work place remarks. Sadly, it is still largely acceptable to make hateful remarks regarding fat people and the LGBT community.

4:44PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

I wouldn't want to be riding in any airplane where the pilot is ranting and carrying on.

2:19PM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

@John M,
How do you know any other employee would have already been fired?? His little rant had nothing to do with going off the dep end OR his skills as a pilot.

2:15PM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

@Annmari L,
I'm pretty sure the huge loss of investment they put into the pilot to train and maintain his pilots rating did come into play, and rightly so. Your suggestion about putting him under the supervision of an LGBT, could be one way of handleing the situation, but for all we know, he may already be supervised by someone who is LGBT.

2:07PM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

@Darcy H,
Show us which law or regulation that says you give up your right of free speech when you're at work. As said before, the conversation the pilot had with his crew was not meant to go outside of the crews cabin. He should NOT have been fired because of anything said in a private conversation, as that converstion was believed to be. He should have been disiplined and advised his kind of talk would not be condoned any more. NOBODY should lose a job for merely speaking their mind about ANYTHING. Firing someone just because they hurt someones feelings by saying something bad about them (LGBT or not) would be the most assinine thing a business could do. Using your logic, LGBT workers should lose their jobs if they said something bad about anyone else too. But, I'm sure LGBT workers would never do that , ..... right?

10:40AM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

It costs millions of dollars to train a pilot. Do you really think an airline woul fire a goldmine like that for some trashing? It's not my opinion that he should keep his job. But I can see the reasoning from the airline. It would cost them major money to replace this foulmouthed employee. Better to just aplogize in his name and move on.
My personal view is that he should be transferred to a location where he would be subordinate to LGBT, women and the elderly.

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