Five Pilots Suspended From British Airways For Sending Racist Messages
By Sharelle Burt
British Airways has found themselves in a sticky situation.
Five pilots have been suspended after racist and pornographic text messages surfaced. A senior captain was accused of using the N-word while referring to another colleague, another pilot supposedly sent a graphic picture of a man having sex with a chicken, and another shared pictures from the controversial British TV show, Black And White Minstrel Show. The show ran for more than 20 years and still is a hot reference when discussing race in the entertainment industry.
These new allegations couldn’t have come at a worse time. The airline was already trying to navigate through other incidents. During an employment tribunal claim, Boeing 777 captain Manish Patel claims captain and executive president of the union Balpa Brendan O’Neal sent him racist text messages and suffered through numerous insulting jokes during his tenure. Immediate action was taken by British Airways earlier this month as soon as the allegations came to light. “We accept and regret that in the past there have been cases of inappropriate behaviors and emails passing among a small number of Balpa representatives,” Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said.
“We are committed to ensuring a good, modern day work environment within the organization. We have taken and will continue to take appropriate steps to maintain standards and enforce our values, to include education and, if necessary, disciplinary action.” Thankfully, some of the accused employees have decided to do the right thing while the investigation is being conducted. O’Neal has officially stepped down as Balpa president.
British Airways released a statement, stating that these findings do not match the values of the company. “We are appalled to learn of this behavior, which does not reflect the values of our company,” a British Airways spokesperson said. “We are standing by our colleague to give him our support in every way possible, and urgently looking into this matter.”