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Passenger Refuses to Wear Mask, Gets Kicked Off Plane

'This is insane,' says the passenger, conservative activist Brandon Straka
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2020 11:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – American Airlines started enforcing its mandatory face mask policy this week, much to the displeasure of conservative activist Brandon Straka. He was removed from a flight from New York to Dallas Wednesday after refusing to put a mask on and arguing with flight attendants who told him it was required, CNN reports. "This is insane, absolutely insane," he said in a social media post. "We don't even have a choice anymore." He says he wore a mask to board the flight, as required, but took it off once on board and refused to put one on even after five people—flight attendants, the captain, and customer service managers—asked him to. The airline says he was rebooked to his final destination, Seattle, after agreeing to abide by company policy.

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Straka, however, tells Forbes that he didn't wear a mask on either of the two later flights that took him to Seattle. The airline says he claimed to have a medical condition. Straka says he finds wearing a mask "inhibiting" and feels it should be a matter of personal choice. Straka says refusing to wear a mask hasn't been a problem before. "I'm quite used to traveling and this has literally never been an issue. Not one single time, even with this airline." New York Times reporter Astead Herndon tweeted video of part of Straka's argument about the mask. People applauded when Straka got off the plane, he says. Mediaite notes that Straka sells face masks for $20 on his pro-President Trump website. Airlines have been stepping up enforcement of their face covering policies, but Straka is believed to be the first refusenik to be removed from a flight. (Read more American Airlines stories.)

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