A Southwest Airlines pilot is under investigation after he closed his usual intercom greeting to passengers with "Let's go Brandon," a euphemistic right-wing slur against Democratic President Joe Biden that stands for "Fu*k Joe Biden."
An Associated Press reporter who was on the flight reported several people onboard audibly gasped at the comment.
The phrase skyrocketed in popularity among supporters of former Republican President Donald Trump as the newest piece of seemingly innocuous far-right doublespeak—think the Pepe the Frog memes of 2016—has steadily grown into a more sinister trend.
The phrase stems from a journalist misreporting chants of "Fu*k Joe Biden" as "Let's go Brandon" at an Alabama NASCAR race last month won by driver Brandon Brown.
Hearing the phrase on Southwest planes is apparently not new, either. A similar incident was captured earlier last month and posted by a right-wing TikTok'er, where several commenters shared stories of hearing the phrase on their Southwest flights too.
Presumably at the heart of this seeming wave of anti-Biden sentiment among pilots is the President's forthcoming vaccine mandate for federal workers, which includes airline personnel. The airline has been embroiled in turmoil with its employees following the announcement, and then reversal, of a decision to terminate employees who refused to comply with the mandate.
The airline's pilots union unsuccessfully attempted to seek a restraining order against the mandate, claiming the vaccine could have medical side effects that would jeopardize pilots' service--a claim with no medical or scientific merit.
In a statement, the airline confirmed it was investigating the incident and issued a warning to employees about similar behavior.
"Southwest does not condone Employees sharing their personal political opinions while on the job serving our Customers, and one Employee's individual perspective should not be interpreted as the viewpoint of Southwest and its collective 54,000 Employees,"
As you might guess, Twitter was bitterly divided over this story, with conservatives defending the pilot and pointing to the uproar as yet another example of left-wing overreach.
But liberals were unnerved and outraged by the pilot's actions, and many called for firings and boycotts in response.
The vaccine mandate for federal employees takes effect on November 22.