Does Steven Slater deserve to be a folk hero?
Several JetBlue passengers say the chute-jumping flight attendant started the fight that led to his lionized meltdown. Does that change anything?
The backlash has begun. Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant feted as a "folk hero" after his dramatic post-flight meltdown, has been accused of starting the fight that led to his dramatic beer-grabbing, chute-sliding exit. Passengers on the JetBlue flight from Pittsburgh to New York have subsequently said that Slater was repeatedly rude to fliers and "spent much of the 90-minute flight slamming overhead bins and refrigerator doors." Is Slater a hero — or is he just a jerk? (Watch Steven Slater's brief press conference)
This story is no laughing matter: The more you hear about Steven Slater, says an editorial in the New York Daily News, "the less amusing the story becomes." Didn't his colleagues realize he was becoming "unhinged"? No one should be allowed to act "childishly out of control" while they are responsible for people's safety. If a passenger had behaved like this, "handcuffs might well have been in the offing." "Flying off the handle: JetBlue flight attendant's airborne antics were no joke"
This "backlash" seems manufactured: There's something a little "odd" about this backlash coverage, says Max Read at Gawker. Only three witnesses have come forward, each touting this "entirely new angle." But none of the three claim to have seen his "infamous exit." What about the other passengers? Or the attendants? Is it too much to suspect this is just "JetBlue taking some reporters on a ride"?"Did JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater start the fight that led to his exit?"
The legend is more important than the facts: Maybe Slater isn't a hero, says Jon Bershad at Mediaite. But "maybe it doesn't matter." Even if "Steven Slater the Flight Attendant isn't everything we hoped he was," we should remember how "Steven Slater the Legend" inspired us. "Sometimes the story is more important than the man." "Steven Slater backlash begins: Did he start luggage fight?"