“Plane Bae” Story Takes A Turn For The Worse…

Filed Under: Media

On July 2 a cute-seeming story went viral, as someone named Rosey Blair live Tweeted what happened on her Alaska Airlines flight from New York to Dallas. I’d note that Rosey describes herself on Twitter as a “drama queen deep in the heart of Texas.”

Rosey was traveling with her boyfriend, though he was assigned a seat one row up. Rosey asked the lady seated next to her if she wouldn’t mind trading seats, and joked that her new seatmate may be the “love of her life.” The lady obliged.

As it turned out, the lady who switched seats ended up hitting it off with her new seatmate. So Rosey proceeded to live Tweet the entire flight, including details of the conversations the two were having, their every move, and she even posted pictures of them. Twitter ate up this story, and so many people found this to be a cute modern day romance. From the beginning I found the story to be a bit uncomfortable (which is why I didn’t write about it at the time).

I think the big problem with social media is that it’s very easy to stretch the truth, and once you’re committed to a narrative, you keep reporting that. When that happens, it becomes very easy to cross a line and invade privacy, which is exactly what happened here. It’s one thing to generically say that you traded seats with someone and they really hit it off with their new seatmate, but it’s a whole different story to live Tweet details of their conversations, and even post creeper pictures of them without their consent.

Initially the feedback with the story was overwhelmingly positive, and people were so invested in finding out more. The guy quickly came forward and took advantage of the spotlight, and even updated his Instagram to call himself “Plane Bae.”

While this may all seem cute, the woman who was involved isn’t taking the situation as lightly. Her lawyer had issued the following statement to Business Insider:

I am a young professional woman. On July 2, I took a commercial flight from New York to Dallas. Without my knowledge or consent, other passengers photographed me and recorded my conversation with a seatmate. They posted images and recordings to social media, and speculated unfairly about my private conduct.

Since then, my personal information has been widely distributed online. Strangers publicly discussed my private life based on patently false information.

I have been doxxed, shamed, insulted and harassed. Voyeurs have come looking for me online and in the real world.

I did not ask for and do not seek attention. #PlaneBae is not a romance—it is a digital-age cautionary tale about privacy, identity, ethics and consent.

Please continue to respect my privacy, and my desire to remain anonymous.

She raises a very fair point, and this is something that’s easy to forget when a story is so cute-seeming.

Following that, Rosey posted an apology on Twitter:

I don’t know what to do. I am at a loss. When I made this and shared it, I was happy, joyful and overcome with authentic and sincere excitement. So much so that I could not see the potential exploitative nature of the outcome and my actions. The last thing I want to do is to remove agency and autonomy from another woman. I wish I could communicate the shame that I feel in having done this, but I truly feel that at this point my feelings are irrelevant. This may be coming too little too late. I’ve been instructed by peers who have experienced similar waves of positive and negative attention to let it blow over. That does not sit well with my conscience.

I’ve sat on this silently for a few days now. Helen, to you – although you’re not much of an internet fan, I hope you see this – I apologize for utilizing what could have been a beautiful charming moment among strangers as a tool to communicate a narrative I am fond of. I apologize for taking what should have been a small mundane moment of cheeriness and turning it into something foul and over-amplified. I apologize for taking away something that I myself value quite a bit – which is sharing one’s own story publicly as means to inspire others. What I have done is in no ways inspirational. Every woman has a right to her own story. And to have taken away yours and turned it into my own was wrong on many levels. Helen – to you, I offer my services. In whatever way you wish to continue this story – its now yours, as it should have been this entire time. Whatever decision you come to, I am humbled to honor it. And will work to right (or write) this wrong.

On one hand the apology seems sincere and extensive, though on the other hand it seems self-centered, and it seems like she didn’t learn anything, since she once again names the woman who wanted to remain anonymous all along.

Hopefully this is a good lesson for any similar future viral stories.

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

  1. Loss of privacy is becoming a serious threat to each and everyone of us. Especially as a frequent flier I’m becoming more paranoid that my face will show up on someones idiotic post or video.

  2. Rosey doesn’t appear to have learned anything if she is using the woman passengers name in her “apology”. All she has requested is privacy, yet that statement appears to mention her first name twice.

    Lucky, maybe redact the female passengers name to address the privacy issues.

  3. @Justin – Blair noted in her apology Twitter thread that the harassed woman gave Blair consent to use her name (someone asked the same question you just did).

    I thought that this story had sort of died by Thursday or Friday or so last week…

  4. Social media vigilante scumbags. No one would take them seriously in real life so they gang up online and push a narrative. They usually are liberal and try to push what they think are liberal causes but are pretty much stoking their own egos.

    Because old rich conservatives white males are too dumb to know how technology works.

  5. Rosie was naïve and hasty but she’s not a criminal and shouldn’t be treated as such. I thought that apology was heartfelt and well-done. Could not ask for a better one.

    However, I think we need better right-to-privacy laws/rules for situations such as air travel. In the past, if you were in public you were fair game for having your picture snapped. Perhaps now that everyone has photo/video capability, and most people can’t travel by private jet, the pendulum needs to swing the other way.

  6. Lucky, I sincerely hope you are moved by this message as you say.

    I have been dismayed many more than once by your posts containing video of passenger melt-downs, apparently for laughs and public shaming (“hey you guys, take a look at this one”), without regard for serious mental health issues at play.

    I’m very impressed with this new empathy and maturity you’ve indicated above. I hope this moment was a catalyst for you.

  7. If you think that apology was sincere, reread the last 4 sentences. This is a woman who tried to turn Helen’s story into a job a Buzzfeed, writing gigs, etc. And she ends her non-apology by telling her she’s happy to write Helen’s story for her. That’s not really a convincing way to say “I’m sorry.”

  8. Helen, to you – although you’re not much of an internet fan

    Written about a woman that works as a software developer for a major blue chip tech company on cloud software.

    Me thinks Rosey don’t know the difference about not using the internet and having at least some degree of privacy.

  9. Twitter has gotten more people in trouble for writing things than any other form of media since Gutenberg.

    What do you expect of a medium that doesn’t require a pause for reflection between synaptic misfire and publishing for the whole world to see?

    I never saw the point of Twitter, and still don’t.

  10. Where privacy and being hungry for the media intersect…

    As other suggested, Rosey is not as innocent as she claims. She may have had innocent intentions when she first filmed and began tweeting about the incident. But like to many others, she seemed to enjoy whatever 15 minutes of fame she was getting from this, and did her best to capitalize from it. Though not as much as the guy in the Plane Bae story, who is *really* working at to keep his social media fame going.

    But in the end, it doesn’t matter what the intentions are…Rosey uploaded pictures and a story about someone without her consent. That is one of the main issues.

  11. You were right to feel a measure of discomfort with the original piece; this woman is a nutter.
    I’m the world’s best seat mate : rarely known to say more than 4 words ( greeting, farewell), take no pictures, only pee every few hours, don’t smell, don’t invade space. Wish there were more like me.

  12. I remeber, that Lucky had an incident on a Lufthansa flight because the stewardess asked not be filmed in somewhat rude way.
    The thing is, in Germany taking pictures of someone else isn’t allowed since the turn from 19th to 20th century. Many people here don’t know that law, either, but when reading this, I am happy, that most people in Germany ask you befor taking pictures or filming you.
    As long as you open up your personal privacy on social media, it is your decission. But no one should do it with others. Especially when you don’t know them. It is extremely intrusive.

  13. The people who are annoyingly giddy about sharing evety detail of their private lives and thoughts through social media don’t get it that lots of people don’t like or want that.

    It’s easy to unfriend or quit following someone who won’t stop that type of self-centered prattle, but when this type of garbage commentary and photos destroys the privacy of strangers without permission it’s really wrong.

  14. @Emily did you even read Justins’ response? She said it was okay to publish her name, jeez.

  15. Some years ago I was on an overnight flight from Las Vegas to New York, and (after a long weekend with little sleep) I immediately knocked out and woke up when the wheels hit the tarmack. I went about my day and when I got to the office a while later one of my office mates pulled me into her office and said “holy crap I can’t believe this”. It was a picture of me, asleep, on someone’s Facebook timeline (an acquaintance), with a caption talking about how I slept through crazy turbulence. I thought, and still think, that it was funny, but the more this happens the more I worry that privacy is gone for good and that we’d better all figure out some new social codes to live by.

  16. @Justin – Rosey doesn’t appear to have learned anything if she is using the woman passengers name in her “apology”.

    Twice in that post does Rosey state the lady’s name while trying to “ingratiate” herself as someone who is apologetic. This not only comes out seemingly slimy but then she goes on to say this:

    “Every woman has a right to her own story. And to have taken away yours and turned it into my own was wrong on many levels.”

    Eh?? Who the hell is she to make that determination that this lady wanted anything to even be documented let alone publicized? She seems more like someone wanting a quick buck to make (hence her own twitter description of “drama queen”) via hyping observed event between two people. Her apology to me at least comes across as slimy and non-sincere. Hell I would tell the one who got publicly doxxed to sue the pants off this Miss Rosey.

  17. this stupid story and the importance for some people shows all things which are wrong with social media nowadays

  18. I applaud Katy for getting a grip on this story for which we have little definitive truth. The rest of you “Judges” also get a grip–the women’s apology was heartfelt and remorseful at my first read–opinion only, but declarative judgments from those who seem to run to the punitive seem not very gallant and very premature…

  19. I would be upset if I was the subject of someone’s 15 minutes of fame. its sad that my grandchildren will have zero privacy.

  20. @ debit/Debbie Are you OK sweetheart? Having a bad day? Do you just need a hug or are you out of your meds again?

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