Southwest Airlines announced on Sunday afternoon that an internal investigation was opened into claims that a pilot used Lets Go Brandon during a passenger announcement on Friday's flight between Houston, Albuquerque.
Since the allegations were made, the Dallas-based carrier faced fierce social media backlash with customers asking for Southwest to discipline the pilot or even fire him.
Southwest confirmed the incident on Sunday, more than 24 hours after it was first reported. A spokesperson said that the carrier would directly address the matter with the employee involved.
However, the airline did not promise to take disciplinary actions against anyone involved if the allegations were proven.
In its first public statement, Southwest stated that it takes pride in creating a safe, welcoming, secure, and respectful environment for millions of customers who fly with us every year.
Southwest doesn't condone employees sharing their political views while working for our customers. One Employee's perspective should not be taken as representing Southwest and its 54,000 employees, the statement said.
Southwest will conduct an internal investigation into the reported incident and will speak directly with all employees involved. Employees are reminded that it is against the law to express personal opinions while on duty.
This phrase is used by certain sections of Republican party members as a derogatory term to refer to President Joe Biden. Let's just say Brandon was first introduced to the public lexicon in October. It is code for F**k Joe Biden.
Southwest will not tolerate divisive behavior, because it doesn't reflect the Southwest Hospitality, inclusiveness and excellence for which we are well-known, stated the airline.
Southwest is currently in a heated dispute with its pilot union over its decision to support Biden's vaccine mandate. Southwest, a federal contractor, believes it is covered under the vaccine mandate. It has demanded that all employees be fully vaccinated before December 8.
Southwest Pilots Association tried to fight the mandate, but a Texas judge ruled in favor of the unions and declared Southwest's demands lawful.