Southwest Airlines Kicks Black Trump Supporter Off Plane for Not Wearing Mask

A passenger wearing a Donald Trump-branded hat and mask was offloaded from a Southwest flight after the airline said he refused multiple requests to wear a face covering.

In a statement, the low-cost carrier said the man, who was on a plane due to depart from Tampa to Dallas, was put on a later flight after providing assurances that he would comply with their mask policy.

The incident was filmed by conservative activist and lawyer KrisAnne Hall, who named the passenger as Philip Ndifon. She said he was travelling as a member of her party en route to Amarillo, Texas, and claimed he was targeted by airline staff because he was wearing a "Black Voices for Trump" hat and a "Trump 2020" mask.

Video showed the man holding a bag of mixed dried fruit and nuts while wearing a mask under his chin.

He could be heard telling a member of the Southwest Airlines crew that he was not wearing the face covering over his nose and mouth because he was eating.

In a statement, Chris Mainz, a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, told Newsweek: "Our reports indicate that a customer traveling on Flight 2632, with scheduled service from Tampa to Dallas, was asked repeatedly by more than one employee at different times to wear a face mask.

"The customer did not comply with our crew's multiple verbal requests—including while boarding the flight before seated. Therefore, the decision was made to return to the gate and re-accommodate him on a later flight to his final destination after receiving assurances he would comply with our face covering policy.

"We regret the inconvenience the situation created for all involved, but our crew must uphold the well-being and comfort of all passengers.

"Our policy clearly states that we require all customers over the age of two to wear a face covering or face mask while traveling to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

"We communicate this policy to all customers at multiple touchpoints throughout the travel journey including during booking, in a pre-trip email sent prior to departure, and during a required acknowledgement that's part of the Customer Health Declaration Form which appears during the check-in process."

Hall, a self-described "constitutional attorney," public speaker and author, who shared the video on her Facebook and YouTube accounts, told Newsweek: "The attendant seemed to single out Philip from the moment we boarded.

"Philip was a complete gentleman and complied with all their requests and policies. I have been flying Southwest regularly for over a decade. I have never experienced such targeting by a Southwest employee.

"They usually have great customer service. But today this attendant refused [to] impartially apply [the] policy [and] made up an excuse to have Philip removed from the plane. The supervisor ignored the other customers when they said Philip was following the policies and took him off the plane."

She said the passenger was threatened with arrest and felony criminal charges if he didn't leave the plane.

She added: "The southwest supervisor that took him and my husband off the plane re-rerouted them to OKC [Oklahoma City] to meet up with me."

The video prompted Donald Trump Jr. to tweet that the incident was "disgusting."

He tweeted: "WTF??? This is disgusting. I've been on a thousand flights in the last few months and everyone lowers their masks to eat and drink. I did it on a Southwest flight earlier this week."

Update 10/14/20, 09:36 a.m. ET: This article was updated to add reaction from Donald Trump Jr.

Southwest Airlines Kicks Black Trump Supporter Off Plane for Not Wearing Mask | U.S.