Flight Attendant Behind Parody Videos Fired

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If you want to keep your job, you probably shouldn’t post videos online making fun of your bosses, right? An American Airlines flight attendant from Miami had to learn that the hard way.

Gailen David, who had been with American Airlines for 24 years, posted a series of videos on YouTube, NBC Miami reports. In the videos, he’s dressed in drag as the “Aluminum Lady” and parodies the airline’s financial situation and memos they receive from airline executives.

Not surprisingly, American Airlines fired David this past Wednesday, though they claim reasons apart from the videos as the basis for his termination, saying he published passenger flight details. David says that his videos are the real reason he was let go.

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A look through the videos reveal that David isn’t so much an attempt to defame his company, but rather to provide some comic relief for fellow flight attendants and some truth about company waste. David published what he said were flight plans of executives who would bump regular customers off flights, which the company says is a breach of privacy. (The company also says the seat-bumping just doesn’t happen.) “Someone had to stand up and say something,” David told ABC Miami.

Despite all the drama, David posted a petition on Change.org to “sAAve American Airlines” just a few weeks ago. His petition is addressed to American Airlines’ bankruptcy case judge, Judge Sean Lane, and asks for his help in establishing new leadership that “has demonstrated an ability to turn around distressed companies in aviation and/or other industries that may be applied at American Airlines.”

David heart might be in the right place—but was the cost of his method worth it? David thinks so. In a video for “sAAve American Airlines,” David says: “I will gladly take the heat, risk being terminated, or even publicly embarrassed, because what is happening right now is wrong, and I know I need to speak up.”

Update, 3/19 11:45 A.M.: American Airlines spokesperson Bruce Hicks issued the following statement: 

“After publishing the private travel details of American Airlines passengers and continuing to promote our competitors through advertisements on his website, flight attendant Gailen David has been terminated.

Mr. David was counseled last year about the serious nature of both passenger privacy and conflict of interest violations.  He has repeatedly failed to adhere to our policies. We take our passengers’ privacy seriously and will not allow employees to violate that trust.

Mr. David’s termination was for his repeated violations of our passengers’ privacy and continuing to promote our competitors, not for his other actions.”

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