A customer on a recent Southwest Airlines flight had an uncomfortable experience after staff asked her to conceal a sign expressing support for President Joe Biden.
Jenny Grondahl, a labor organizer and outreach specialist for Arizona Latino voters for Biden during the 2020 campaign, was flying from Phoenix to San Diego last week.
With her, she carried a sign that read "Arizonenses Con Biden"—a souvenir of her work for the campaign.
Last Friday I was told by Southwest Air staff “many” passengers complained and were offended by the @joebiden sign… https://t.co/fSXKjja5Al— Jenny Grøndahl (@Jenny Grøndahl) 1627943480.0
It wasn't long before a Southwest employee asked her to conceal the sign, saying that "many people [were] offended by it." Grondahl asked the employee what would've been done if it was a tee shirt supporting Biden, to which the employee replied Grondahl would've been asked to turn it inside out.
Ultimately, she folded the sign and placed it under her seat.
Grondahl told Soo Youn of the Washington Post about the incident:
"I'm looking around at the gate, and I'm thinking, how many of you was it - 20 out of 110 people? And how offended were you? What did you say? How could people have such a visceral reaction to seeing the name of our president on a sign?"
"I just looked around, and I thought about humanity in general. How devastatingly horrible that someone saw a name, or a different language, on a sign that I'm carrying, and stood in line to complain to the airline staff to the point that they then had to come complain to me, and asked me not to bring this on board?"
The story sparked a host of reactions on social media.
@washingtonpost Southwest can do what they want, but why? Would I hate someone to be wearing a Trump shirt boarding… https://t.co/KgKvYrs4wR— Jacob Lyons (@Jacob Lyons) 1628219063.0
@washingtonpost Companies can make their own rules. Just like Twitter.— Matteo (@Matteo) 1628218938.0
@washingtonpost Umm yea he’s the current president of the United States. If we have to live with their racist, fas… https://t.co/TFq1VD1Ubj— KR (@KR) 1628219142.0
@washingtonpost Man, right-wingers are a bunch of super-soft, namby-pamby, crybaby snowflakes.— BetYourB00tz (@BetYourB00tz) 1628219394.0
Don't care if it's Trump, Biden, etc. People need to get over it. https://t.co/n3YHoiZM8n— Dave Martinez (@Dave Martinez) 1628256122.0
I’ve seriously been wondering, with all of the belligerent passengers angry about masks, Biden signs, etc. — whethe… https://t.co/1jbfasNsJt— Jenn Taylor-Skinner (@Jenn Taylor-Skinner) 1628220035.0
In situations like this, liberals said these policies were rarely enforced for conservative paraphernalia, while conservatives said the double standard favored liberals.
@washingtonpost Southwest probably took lots of insurrectionists to DC for the January 6th coup attempt, and maybe… https://t.co/MsU7Z0Q0Bm— MJB (@MJB) 1628219999.0
@washingtonpost big deal....they did the same when Trump was President...you can't even walk on the streets: they w… https://t.co/RAmQg94gUZ— Aleksandr1977 (@Aleksandr1977) 1628219492.0
@washingtonpost Remember when people were getting in trouble for wearing a maga hat? Two can play this game— P K (@P K) 1628242629.0
@washingtonpost Almost every flight I’ve been on for 5 years has had at least one Trump or confederate item of appa… https://t.co/bqeKyvtOP8— wolfonthehill (@wolfonthehill) 1628244004.0
Grondahl's souvenir sign is now hanging in her office—the folds in it another less welcome souvenir of her uncomfortable flight.