A conservative Fox News commentator has been criticized after calling flight attendants tasked with enforcing the federal face mask mandate “Nazis of the air” during a segment on the cable news station discussing a surge in unruly passenger incidents.
“There are some flight attendants out there who take their job as the mask police to extremes. Becoming almost Nazis of the air. And it’s ridiculous, it drops beneath your nose, they’re constantly getting mad at you,” Tomi Lahren said during the Outnumbered show.
“It’s no wonder people are getting frustrated. We still need to act, obviously, decently. There is no excuse for violence. We need to lift the mask mandate in the air and I have a feeling a lot of these issues will go away,” the 28-year-old pundit continued.
But while Lahren acknowledged that there “are so many good flight attendants out there” it was her decision to compare enforcing a mask mandate to the Nazi regime that stood out.
“While she’s projecting, we’re protecting,” slammed Sara Nelson president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) who has openly argued for the federal face mask to be kept and possibly even be extended before its due to expire in September.
“This is the kind of hateful rhetoric that has kept us from acting like Americans, mobilizing a national response in solidarity in the face of this crisis,” Nelson, who represents around 50,000 flight attendants across the U.S. including at United, continued.
Nelson fears that Tomi’s comments could stoke unruly passenger behavior beyond the dangerous levels that have already been witnessed so far this year.
“Our union will hold Tomi and her employer personally responsible for the next flight attendant hurt by an irate pax motivated by her hateful rhetoric,” Nelson said. She believes Fox News took an extreme view in order to improve their “slipping” ratings.
A group of Republican senators have called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to drop the federal face mask mandate immediately but so far the agency is refusing to budge on the issue.
Airlines and unions currently support the mandate arguing that the requirement to wear a mask allows them to operate at maximum capacity while vaccines continue to be rolled out. The threat of the Delta variant also means that the mask mandate is unlikely to be dropped before September and could be extended if the variant causes a serious uptick in infections across the U.S.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.