Social media can be a mighty tool for change. But it can also lead to severe headaches for the person behind the screen.
While the hashtag #BoycottJetBlue has been gaining steam on Twitter, the man who started the movement, Matthew Lush, was only inspired to do so after being banned from the airline after posting a series of polarizing tweets.
"We would never ban someone for their tweets," said Morgan Johnston, Manager of JetBlue Corporate Communications, per Yahoo Travel editor Brittany Jones Cooper. "But they wanted to assess if this situation had the potential to escalate in altitude."
It all began on Nov. 25, when Lush called JetBlue in an attempt to refund his ticket after he found a cheaper one with another airline. The JetBlue representative offered a reduced change fee of $100, down from $150, but it wasn't enough.
Lush voiced his displeasure on Twitter and recommended others use different airlines.
However, some of the tweets included the JetBlue representative's name and employee number, and when the airline's social media team determined that some of the tweets from Lush and his followers could be perceived as threatening, they were sent to the JetBlue's corporate security team.
In response, the security team met Lush at his gate on Nov. 29, and after having a discussion, JetBlue officials decided to deny Lush access and refund his ticket.
Lush released a 10-minute response to the ban on YouTube a day later.
In the video, titled "JetBlue Hates Me," Lush explains himself and is adamant that he was never a threat.
"I felt like JetBlue was beating me, you know why, because they could."
"Nowhere did I physically threaten her at all, I would never physically threaten anyone. They were fun tweets, I was upset with JetBlue, I was upset with Regina, and that's all," Lush added.
Toward the end of the video, Lush implores his followers to avoid booking with the airline and to spread the word by using the hashtag #BoycottJetBlue.
Despite the negative attention, JetBlue stands by its decision:
"The decision to remove any customer from a flight is made after careful and informed decision by local airport officials and flight crew," said Johnston. "It's based on an individual's actions and our assessment whether further actions during the flight would lead to further disruption or non-compliance with crew member instructions which could lead to diversion and delays for all customers."
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