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The U.S. Navy SEAL credited with killing Al Qaida founder and 9/11 plotter Osama bin Laden says he’s been banned from Delta Air Lines after he posted a pic on social media of him taking a flight without donning a mask.
“I just got banned from @Delta for posting a picture. Wow,” ex-SEAL Robert O’Neill wrote on Twitter.
I just got banned from @Delta for posting a picture. Wow.
— Robert J. O'Neill (@mchooyah) August 20, 2020
The ban comes after O’Neill posted a selfie online showing him sitting in a commercial airliner without a mask.
The picture was deleted but a scan of O’Neill’s feed contains a post in which he says his wife deleted it, not him.
I didn’t delete my tweet. My wife did.
— Robert J. O'Neill (@mchooyah) August 19, 2020
Also, he claimed in another post that he had his mask in his lap but that he only took it off to take the selfie and post it as a gag.
“I’m not a p**sy,” O’Neill, 44, a former SEAL Team Six member, wrote in his initial post, according to published reports. (** Language warning)
Here’s a now-deleted tweet from former Navy SEAL and what we’d call a Blue Falcon in the military, Robert O’Neill. This kind of arrogance and carelessness not only reflects poorly on the military, but during a pandemic endangers the lives of other Americans. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/nxlyXoviYj
— VetsForward (@AZVetsForward) August 19, 2020
Shortly afterward, a Delta official said the airline was aware of the incident and was considering further action.
“We’re aware of this customer’s tweet and are reviewing this event. All customers who don’t comply with our mask-wearing requirement risk losing their ability to fly Delta in the future,” spokeswoman Kyla Ross the New York Post.
“Medical research tells us that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to reduce the COVID-19 infection rate,” she added, though mask-wearing is actually disputed.
In recent weeks, commercial U.S. airlines have implemented and then tightened their mask policies, ostensibly to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Airlines are aggressively enforcing the policy. Earlier this month, Southwest Airlines booted a young mother and her three-year-old autistic son from a flight in Texas after the boy refused to wear a mask.
According to Alyssa Sadler of Houston, her son was not asked to wear a mask during a previous flight to Midland to see his father the week before, but on the return trip they were punished for it.
“We’re getting close to the runway,” she explained. “They’re going over the security safety features and all that, and the flight attendant walks by and tells me that he has to put a mask on. So, I try to put the mask on him. He is three and has autism and sensory processing disorders, so he wouldn’t keep the mask on.”
In an interview with CNN Aug. 2, the head of the International Association of Flight Attendants union called for a federal mask mandate.
“Well, unfortunately, we’re seeing a rise of people who are refusing to wear the masks, and that has a lot to do with the leadership and the sort of narrative that is being put out from the leadership and our government that this is about a political decision rather than a public health decision,” Sara Nelson said, suggesting that the Trump administration was to blame.
She also said at the time that airlines were coordinating efforts to preemptively ban people who posted instructions to social media about how to get out of having to wear a mask.
“Some people have put up videos on social media showing ways to get around wearing a mask on flights, and you can be very clear that we’re getting those to the airlines and working to ban those people up front as well,” Nelson said.
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