The British multinational pharma giant GSK has acted swiftly to terminate an employee who launched a drink-fuelled racist and homophobic diatribe on an American Airlines flight that was due to depart Philadelphia for Dallas Fort Worth on Tuesday.
The ex-GSK employee, identified as Zachary Easterly, was sacked by the London-based pharmaceutical company for what its U.S. division described as “reprehensible” behavior that “does not reflect our company culture”.
Easterly was easily identified after he loudly boasted to other passengers aboard the American Airlines jet that he was employed by GSK – or GlaxoSmithKline as the company is still often called.
The incident was recorded by a fellow passenger aboard the flight, and the now-viral video was uploaded to Reddit. Easterly can be heard calling his fellow seatmates “liberal faggots”, although the witness says he didn’t start recording early enough to catch his “copious use of the N-word towards the flight attendants”.
“Drunk racist and homophobic man got kicked off my flight last night from Philadelphia to Dallas for being inappropriate towards the woman in the seat next to him,” the witness wrote in their Reddit post.
“Spectacular meltdown as he is escorted off the plane… The crew handled the whole situation phenomenally well! Crew was fantastic.”
The video begins as flight attendants calmly but persistently push Easterly to collect his bag from the overhead locker. Easterly spits back swear words at them as one flight attendant bravely steps in and helps him locate his bag.
“Obvious I’m a white male that take the black bag ‘cause I’m racist,” he shouts at his captive audience. “You’re kicking me off the f**king plane because I’m racist. I didn’t do anything,” he continued.
Eventually admitting defeat, Easterly goes to leave the plane but not before calling passengers “liberal faggots” and revealing his job title and employer.
It didn’t take long for the internet to get to work identifying Easterly and retribution was swiftly delivered after the video was shared with GSK. The company said in a tweet that it launched an immediate investigation and the employee was quickly terminated.
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.