TV personality Bill O’Reilly was caught on tape verbally assaulting a JetBlue employee, and he’s not particularly sorry about it…
O’Reilly loses it during delayed JetBlue flight
On Sunday, April 3, 2022, Bill O’Reilly was traveling on JetBlue from New York (JFK) to Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos (PLS) on flight 1179. The flight was delayed by around five hours (which I’m sure was frustrating), and it seems that O’Reilly unleashed on the gate agent.
In a video posted to social media that was filmed by someone else in the terminal, O’Reilly can be heard saying the following to a JetBlue employee, among other things:
- “You f*cking scumbag, don’t talk to me like that”
- “You’re going to lose your job”
- “You’re lucky I don’t put my fist through it” (referring to the employee’s name tag)
You can see the video for yourself below.
O’Reilly defends his behavior toward JetBlue employee
O’Reilly accepts that he handled the confrontation “poorly” and chose the wrong language, but he’s not sorry for confronting the worker. According to O’Reilly:
- He was prompted to get to the bottom of the delay by numerous fellow passengers who recognized him
- O’Reilly claims that personally-motivated critics are lying about the interaction (though it’s on video, so…)
- The real story, O’Reilly claims, is that “JetBlue can’t get their flights off the ground”
- O’Reilly argues that JetBlue is committing “fraud in inducement” by selling tickets for flights that the airline knows it can’t complete, without being honest about it
- O’Reilly blames the Biden administration for not getting involved in JetBlue’s operational issues — “for some reason, the Biden administration is not big on solving problems, this is a huge problem”
O’Reilly even Tweeted yesterday that there’s a “character assassination” happening against him.
What O’Reilly is right about
It’s never, ever acceptable to talk to someone the way that O’Reilly spoke to this JetBlue employee. Especially not a frontline worker, who quite literally has no control over the situation, and is probably as frustrated by the delay as passengers are.
O’Reilly is right on a couple of things, though:
- JetBlue’s operational performance is abysmal; the airline is struggling to operate reliably, much more so than competitors
- The United States lacks consumer protection for flight delays and cancelations, unlike what exists in Europe; this isn’t specific to any political party, but rather it’s just not something we’ve seen any administration tackle in a meaningful way
Airline contracts of carriage are totally unfair, and make few promises about the timeliness with which you’ll arrive at your destination. JetBlue can get you to your destination hours late, and you’re not technically owed any compensation. At a minimum, consumers should be aware of JetBlue’s reliability issues when booking a flight, and plan accordingly.
Should the government step in and regulate airline operational issues better? Personally I’d absolutely be in favor of this. But I also think that this is the antithesis of “small government,” for those who care about that.
Bill O’Reilly chewed out a JetBlue employee at JFK recently over a flight delay. The flight was delayed significantly, and O’Reilly called the employee a scumbag, said he’d have him fired, and threatened him with physical violence.
O’Reilly admits he didn’t handle the situation well, but says the real problem is that the Biden administration isn’t regulating airline delays. O’Reilly is right about one thing — JetBlue is an operational mess.
What do you make of O’Reilly’s behavior at JFK?