American Airlines announced on Sunday that it would allow flight attendants to wear “Black Lives Matter” pins on their uniform while on duty, according to a Fox News report. The announcement was met with support as well as backlash.
“Clearly we live in a time where it is so important to have a dialogue about this important issue of racism in our society and try to find common ground,” American Airlines wrote in a company-wide announcement. “American is truly committed to having an inclusive culture that is welcoming to all and a reflection of our country and world.”
“This is why American is so committed to creating a more tolerant and diverse team,” the airline company said. “Through our partnership with American’s office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we are continuing to work through an overall plan for addressing these issues in our workplace.”
American Airlines is also reportedly working on designing its own signature pin to show “its symbolic support of a diverse and inclusive work environment.” American Airlines noted that the diversity pin will be created by its Black Professional Network.
However, the announcement of the BLM pin angered some American Airlines employees.
“I take offense to this,” one AA flight attendant wrote to the company in an email, according to The New York Post. “Serious offense. My husband is a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer), as was my deceased father and as far as I’m concerned ALL LIVES MATTER.”
“I am completely disgusted at the fact that we can’t show support for our GOD, our COUNTRY, our LEOs but when it comes to BLM organization (which is controversial in itself), American Airlines says that’s obviously different,” the employee reportedly wrote. “How is that right? Well, I don’t feel included.”
A flight attendant was worried about the ramifications for employees who do not wear a pin, and how they could “be ostracized and labeled as racist.” The employee also said that Black Lives Matter is a “a terrorist organization that promotes violence to further their agenda.”
Another American Airlines flight crew member told Fox News that if Black Lives Matter pins are permitted, then they will be wearing a pin to show support for President Donald Trump. Another employee declared that if BLM pins are allowed, then they will wear a pin supporting the NYPD.
Jill Surdek, the airline’s senior vice president for flight services, responded to the backlash by writing an email that read, “American is truly committed to having an inclusive culture that is welcoming to all and a reflection of our country and world.”
“One symbolic way to show our support is through a uniform pin,” Surdek added. “We are working with our Black Professional Network on designing a specific pin that may be worn with the uniform. In the interim until this pin is produced, to recognize the significance of this moment in history, we are allowing people to wear a Black Lives Matter Pin.”
In 2016, an American Airlines employee reportedly wore a Black Lives Matter button and it caused controversy. According to BuzzFeed, a photo of an American Airlines flight attendant wearing a Black Lives Matter button was shared on Facebook with the caption: “Disgraceful.” The post went viral, after many were outraged.
At the time, the airline reportedly responded to the controversy by saying: