Lufthansa – Germany’s national airline, the government is its largest shareholder – is continuing to do damage control after an incident where Jews were banned from travel on the carrier. Their first two statements on the issue were so bad they’re now trying to fix things putting their CEO into play.
Some passengers on a New York JFK flight were banned from travelling for a day after they didn't comply with crewmember instructions.
Non-Jews were allowed to take their connections despite violating mask rules. Even if they hadn't broken any rules, the ban included passengers who could be identified as likely Jewish.
The German flag carrier scapegoated Jewish passengers. The airline banned Jews from travel because they caused problems.
Passenger: The non-Jewish people on the flight went. Why are only the Jewish people paying for other people’s crimes?
Lufthansa: Because it’s Jews coming from JFK.
…Passenger: I’m like shocked beyond, never in my adult life. I’ve never heard this.
Lufthansa: If you want to do it like this, Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems.
The airline blamed the victim and said they had kept non-compliant passengers off the next flight. That wasn't true.
They muddied the message by talking about other forms of racism after they apologized.
The CEO of the airline found a Rabbi in Berlin to talk to, and a short clip shows him telling the rabbi that what happened is not in line with the airline's rules. The rabbi says he found the CEO's apology to be geniune and they will meet in person to discuss next steps. Some employees have been suspended.
This has been terrible. The story has spread all over the world and with enough leg work that it stuck, showing that the initial response was incorrect. Every person in communications should be aware of the basic law of the game.
It's not the crime, it's the coverup. You want the story to be finished quickly. If you are going to apologize, apologize. If you are going to acknowledge a story, do it fully. The P.R. hit is even worse if you keep going back with explanations and clarifications.
The circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight are regrettable, but they don't say the word "Jews" in their statement.
A large group of Jewish passengers were kept from traveling on a connecting flight to Hungary on Wednesday after some of them had mask compliance issues. A representative from the airline explains that Jews caused the problem.
The writers are running out of ideas for the rest of 2020 but have no legal force, so they could write a TV script about a future world that differed from our own.