A pilot aboard Southwest Airlines has been accused of making a politically offensive statement during a flight.
Deepa Shivaram of NPR reported that “a Southwest Airlines pilot is under an internal investigation after signing off from a flight using the phrase ‘Let’s go, Brandon.’”
According to Shivaram, the divisive phrase — which originated at a NASCAR race in Alabama in October — has “become common in conservative circles as a way of saying, ‘F*** Joe Biden.’ It started as a meme that has now widely spread to Republican members of Congress and has even been said on the House floor.”
The flight in question originated in Houston and landed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Colleen Long of the Associated Press reported that after the pilot made the statement, there were “audible gasps” from passengers.
In a statement from the airline, a Southwest representative said the company would not condone the sharing of personal political opinions while flight crew, including pilots, are at work.
“One employee’s individual perspective should not be interpreted as a viewpoint for Southwest and its collective 54,000 employees,” the company said. “Southwest is conducting an internal investigation into the recently reported event and will address the situation directly with any employee involved while continuing to remind all employees that public expression of personal opinions while on duty is unacceptable. Southwest does not tolerate any behavior that encourages divisiveness.”