Southwest CEO Gary Kelly trolled as he gets Covid day after saying masks don't do much

CEO returns Covid positive test days after telling US Senate masks 'don't add much' aboard airlines, gets brutally trolled


                            Southwest CEO Gary Kelly trolled as he gets Covid day after saying masks don't do much
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly speaks during a press conference at Southwest Airlines headquarters in Dallas, Texas. (Stewart F. House/Getty Images)

Southwest CEP Gary Kelly got a dose of Karma on December 17, testing positive for Covid-19 after dismissing the need for masks on airplanes. The 66-year-old is reportedly "experiencing mild symptoms" of the virus two days after his controversial and worrying testimony in front of the US Senate. The news quickly went viral, as many saw it as a good opportunity to troll Kelly's anti-mask advice. 

With the Omicron variant exploding all over the US and the world, the number of Covid-19 cases has skyrocketed once again, aided by a large number of anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers. On September 15, an anti-vaxxer in Kentucky died just days before her wedding, after refusing to get jabbed because she believed it would make her infertile. Major conspiracy theorists like Joe Rogan have also tested positive in recent months, but still, continue to spew dangerous propaganda. 

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Kelly himself wasn't seen as a prominent anti-masker or anti-vaxxer. He reportedly got both doses of the vaccine, and even received a booster shot "earlier this year". However, that didn't stop him from trying to go against expert advice at the Senate hearing, where he showed up maskless and pushed for masks to no longer be required on airlines.

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly testifies on Capitol Hill on December 15, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

Kelly tests positive after controversial hearing

Kelly appeared before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on December 15, 2021, along with the CEOs of United Airlines and American Airlines, as well as a senior Delta Air Lines executive and the head of a flight attendants union. He drew widespread attention at the hearing for telling the committee, "I think the case is very strong that masks don't add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment. It is very safe and very high-quality compared to any other indoor setting."

He wasn't the only one though. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker backed his fellow CEO telling the committee, "I concur. The aircraft is the safest place you can be. It’s true of all of our aircraft, they all have these HEPA filters and the same airflow." Naturally, their comments drew widespread criticism and condemnation at the time, with one healthcare expert telling Forbes, "Frankly, it is so troubling that I don’t know where to begin." 

(L-R) American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, and United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby testify on Capitol Hill on December 15, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

The context of the comments became even more damning after Southwest announced Kelly tested positive on December 17. Earlier in the day, a spokesperson for the committee confirmed someone at the hearing tested positive but did not confirm who. Reuters quickly broke the news that it was Kelly, leading the company to issue a brief statement saying, "Although testing negative multiple times prior to the Senate Commerce Committee Hearing, Gary tested positive for COVID-19 after returning home, experiencing mild symptoms, and taking a PCR test."

'Now boarding Karma airlines'

Social media didn't spare Kelly after the news went viral. "Guess what happened to him? "I think the case is very strong that masks don't add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment," he said. "It is very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting." now boarding Karma Airlines.." one person tweeted. Another joked, "(Sorry, not sorry.) How did he get back to San Antonio? Did he fly commercial?" One user said, "So he went to the hill to testify for passengers not wear masks on planes then got COVID hahahahha (breathe) hahahah."



 



 



 

 

"Isn't this the guy who said we don't need masks on airplanes? Karma can indeed be a b*tch," one user trolled. Another commented, "The entire plot arc of Southwest CEO Gary Kelly contracting COVID-19 is performance art of the highest caliber." One user tweeted, "Can't wait to see 9 GOP senators catch it, zero Dem senators catch it, and all the bag-of-rocks stupid Fox viewers concoct some scenario in which the Southwest CEO was working with Dems as a human weapon or something."



 



 



 

 

Delta chief of operations John Laughter and United CEO Scott Kirby have both tested negative, according to their companies. Parker "is symptom-free, fully vaccinated, and getting tested this afternoon," according to American Airlines.