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Alaska Airlines issues statement regarding fabricated “Trump mask” story

On June 24, 2021, Seattle outdoorswoman Sara Gamache was removed from an Alaska Airlines flight after a dispute regarding her mask. On July 3, political blog Must Read Alaska owner Suzanne Downing published a fabricated account of the incident, falsely claiming that Gamache had been removed merely because she had worn a “Trump 2020” mask. In fact, according to video and a statement issued by Gamache herself, Gamache had attempted to wear a prohibited mesh mask, argued with flight attendants, and then donned a mask with a Trump 2020 logo and the text “Fuck your feelings.” Alaska Airlines policy prohibits the “wearing or display of offensive, threatening, or intimidating statements or symbols.”

On July 9, the Landmine published a story debunking the claim that Gamache had been removed from the flight only for wearing a “Trump 2020” mask.

Downing’s fabricated account was shared widely on social media and sparked outrage and calls to boycott the airline, which employs almost 2,000 people in Alaska. The conservative news network OAN picked up the fake story, running a segment claiming that Gamache had been ejected from the flight “simply for wearing a Trump 2020 mask.”

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On Wednesday evening, Alaska Airlines issued a statement regarding the incident. According to the statement, Gamache was deplaned after causing disruptions on multiple flights going back to January, refusing to follow instructions from airline staff, attempting to violate federal law regarding masking on airplanes, and violating Alaska Airlines’ policy prohibiting profanity. The full statement is as follows:

Sara Gamache threatened legal action and called for a boycott of Alaska Airlines after being removed from a flight on June 24, 2021. Ms. Gamache falsely claims that she was removed for wearing a mask with a pro-Trump political slogan. In fact, she was removed for refusing to follow crewmember instructions on multiple flights and because a profane statement appeared on the mask in violation of Alaska’s policy.

After boarding her June 24 flight in a mesh mask, Ms. Gamache became confrontational when a flight attendant requested that she wear a proper mask in compliance with federal law. Ms. Gamache reluctantly agreed to do so, but then put on a mask that said “Trump 2020; Fuck your Feelings.” The flight attendant informed Ms. Gamache that the profanity violated Alaska policy and that she needed to change masks yet again, which escalated Ms. Gamache’s disruptive behavior. Per Alaska’s procedure, Ms. Gamache was asked to exit the aircraft. The video Ms. Gamache posted on social media was taken after her confrontational exchange with crewmembers, once she changed her mask for a third time.

This was the second incident in which Ms. Gamache defied crewmember requests to comply with the federal mask policy. In January, Ms. Gamache received a yellow card for repeated refusals to wear an appropriate mask. We expect our customers to comply with Alaska policies and federal law when they choose to fly with us. We must take action when they refuse to do so. We’re thankful and appreciative of the efforts of our dedicated crewmembers who are committed each day to keeping travel safe and respectful.

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J. D. Foxworth
12 days ago

Suzanne Downing is the Alex Jones of Alaska. She’ll just say whatever they thinks will rally the troops against the “evil commie spider-people libs.” Her goal is to make conservatives feel like a persecuted minority, facts be damned. You could write this same article for a year. What’s sad is that a lot of people believe that she’s publishing news.

Jeff Downing / Suzanne Landfield
10 days ago
Reply to  J. D. Foxworth

Careful, she’s probably reading this and is glowing with praise. And Jeff needs her, and she needs him—these two feed each other at the end of the day and make a bit of money and sustain plenty of clicks because of this “feud” they have. It’s really supposed to make us think they don’t stand for the same things or that they don’t originate from the same cesspool of Republicans who didn’t get what they wanted but ended up with the anger to run a blog so consistently. I can’t think of that many people with as much anger as… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Jeff Downing / Suzanne Landfield
Lynn Willis
11 days ago

Thank you Alaska Airlines. Suggest you post this outside every gate and print on every boarding

Assault. Assaulting a crewmember is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000. If a dangerous weapon is used, the defendant can be imprisoned for life.
(18 U.S.C. § 3571, 49 U.S.C. § 46504.)

Interference. The maximum civil penalty for interfering with a crewmember is a fine of up to $25,000. (49 U.S.C. § 46318.)

11 days ago

So then, a “Pass a budget, fuckos” mask would get Landfield kicked off an AK Air flight, but he’s still welcome on the floors of the Alaska Senate and House as a “journalist.” The airline has a higher standard for decency, evidently, than the Rules Chairs do.

11 days ago
Reply to  Profanity

In reply to ‘Profanity,” are you saying that Jeff did wear a mask with the word ‘fuckos’ in the state legislative sessions? Jeff, did you?

Jeff Downing / Suzanne Landfield
10 days ago
Reply to  Profanity

Wow, you’re really this offended by a stupid publicity stunt?