Aviation

Airline employee cops backlash for “racist”, “insensitive” Halloween costume

A JetBlue employee who dressed up as a homeless person from the Caribbean on Halloween has been slammed on social media.

Halloween is an occasion for all sorts of dress-ups, but one JetBlue employee has seemingly taken it too far.

The woman, on shift at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, was sporting a board that reads “Homeless. Need Help. Trying to get back home to Puerto Rico, OR Cuba”, atop torn and faux-soiled clothing.

An image of the costume has been shared to Twitter, where her Halloween garb has been labelled “racist” and “insensitive”.

“Shame on @JetBlue and their management for not sending this employee home as soon as they saw this highly inappropriate & insensitive ‘costume’. SHAME!”, one user wrote.

Twitter users said the costume mocked survivors of Hurricane Maria, a storm that claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people, after decimating Dominica, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Housing has also reportedly become an even more pressing issue in Puerto Rico after the 2017 storm because of lack of federal emergency aid, according to NBC News.

“Not sure if they know but thousands of people lost everything due to Hurricane Maria and for this JetBlue employee to think it’s OK to joke about the epidemic of homelessness in Puerto Rico and the US is sickening and completely unacceptable,” wrote another Twitter user. “That’s NO JOKE.”

JetBlue apologised in an email to Travel Weekly, but has not responded to the tweet at time of writing.

“In the spirit of Halloween, our crew members are welcome to celebrate in costume, but one crew member chose a costume that was clearly insensitive and not in line with our costume policy,” Derek Dombrowski, manager of corporate communications at JetBlue, told Travel Weekly.

“The situation was immediately addressed, and we apologise to anyone who was offended.”

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