Black Florida activist kicked off American Airlines flight for 'offensive' mask that read 'f**k the police'
MIAMI, FLORIDA: A Black Florida woman and activist has claimed that she was kicked off a flight and forced to drive thousands of her miles to her destination because of her race and her face mask, which criticized the police.
Arlinda Johns, who goes by Tray, told Local News 10 that the incident unfolded earlier this week after she boarded an American Airlines flight while wearing a mask that read, "F*** 12." The phrase means "f*** the police," and more specifically, is targeted towards law enforcement's drug units. It has been used in the past by the likes of Quavo, Roddy Ricch, Gucci Mane, Lil Yachty, 21 Savage, and many other rappers.
Johns said she was asked to cover up the mask because the message on it violated American Airlines' Conditions of Carriage which state "offensive clothing" is not allowed. She said she complied, but was confronted again by a flight attendant while she was sitting in her seat wearing a new mask.
"She came back and stood over and said, 'I better not see that other mask,'" she shared. "I said, 'Leave me alone, lady.' She stood there, she said, 'Okay, I got you.'"
Johns recalled that the flight attendant proceeded to walk to the front of the plane, at which point she snapped out her phone and started recording. In the next few minutes, the plane, which was about to take off, made a U-turn and went back to the gate, and she was escorted out of the plane. She said several officers escorted her through the airport and out the door, and that she had to rent a car to drive to Illinois, which is over a 1,000 miles away.
Johns said she believes the entire incident was racially-motivated. "I think I got taken off the plane because I’m Black," she told Local News 10. "My mask said F*** 12' and my shirt said, 'Black Lives Matter.'"
"I am an abolitionist," she added. "I believe that we need to defund and abolish the police."
In a statement, an American Airlines spokesperson said the plane returned to the gate "after [Johns] refused to follow crew member instructions to remove or cover a face mask with offensive language." The spokesperson added that "although [Johns] initially complied, [she] later continued to display the inappropriate language. After arriving at the gate, the passenger was asked to deplane."
American Airlines said it is still looking into the incident and will be refunding the "unused portion" of Johns' ticket, but social media users haven't taken too kindly to their treatment of Johns.
"arlinda johns if you see this it will forever be fuck 12 and fuck that racist ass flight attendant," one wrote.
arlinda johns if you see this it will forever be fuck 12 and fuck that racist ass flight attendant 💜— ✩MG✰ (@madiisongracce) August 5, 2020
Another user, responding to an article about Johns' ordeal, suggested she was a disabled veteran, though MEA WorldWide cannot independently verify that claim.
"Let me Correct some folks, Florida Disabled Veteran kicked off American Airlines after Complying with stewardess. There I fixed it for you," they posted.
Let me Correct some folks,— Tray (@Traymason3) August 5, 2020
Florida Disabled Veteran kicked off American Airlines after Complying with stewardess
There I fixed it for you @AmericanAir @CNN @veteransunited @DAVHQ @MSNBC @maddow @donlemon https://t.co/x2caAxYybz
However, others praised the Airlines for taking a stance against Johns and criticized her for trying to make it a racial issue.
"Glad they kicked that nut Arlinda Johns off the plane. Rather than driving to Illinois, this country would be better off if she drove to Canada. She can’t take her inappropriate mask and leave," one tweeted.
Glad they kicked that nut Arlinda Johns off the plane. Rather than driving to Illinois, this country would be better off if she drove to Canada. She can’t take her inappropriate mask and leave.— Mike W (@MikeW_Wisconsin) August 5, 2020
"Thanks @AmericanAir for taking a stand against #ArlindaJohns for the vulgar language. Google her to see her history. She obviously has little common sense or morality-most likely due to institutional racism or just being a really nasty person," another wrote.
Thanks @AmericanAir for taking a stand against #ArlindaJohns for the vulgar language. Google her to see her history. She obviously has little common sense or morality-most likely due to institutional racism or just being a really nasty🤢 person.— MinnInd09 (@nogovelites) August 5, 2020