A Frontier Airlines passenger assaulted three flight attendants, punching one and groping the breasts of two others, on a flight from Philadelphia to Miami, prompting one crew member to tape him to his seat until the plane landed, the authorities said. https://t.co/6sq3pARbP4
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 4, 2021
Drunk men often misbehave, but what Max Berry allegedly did on a flight from Philadelphia to Florida is just mindblowing.
I have friends who are flight attendants, and I had heard a story or two about challenging situations on board, but this incident shocked me on so many levels.
Here is what allegedly happened: a young man ordered his third alcoholic beverage on a flight from Philadelphia to Miami. The flight attendant rejected that wish—and the college student totally lost his sh*t on them.
The New York Times reports that he groped two flight attendants, punched another one, and then accused the crew of mistreating him. A lot to unpack here.
First of all, not getting the third drink on a short flight shouldn’t upset anyone. But how does being upset justify groping a flight attendant? I don’t even see how his mind went from being angry about the drink to touching the breasts of two women? And even if he didn’t do that, there is a video of him fighting another crew member who tried to put him back in his seat—why would he do that?
After the crew taped him to his seat (with the help of a few passengers), he kept insulting everyone around him. As a cherry on the top, he claimed that his parents were super-rich.
Frontier passenger allegedly touched 2 flight attendants breasts, then screamed his parents are worth $2 million, before punching a flight attendant. Frontier suspended the crew for duct taping the passenger to his seat as they landed in Miami. 22 yr old Max Berry is in custody. pic.twitter.com/4xS9Rwvafx
— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) August 3, 2021
So, let’s say his parents were rich (which I personally don’t believe looking at the location of this incident). Would that justify his behavior in any way? What goes on in the mind of somehow who sees that as an argument in his defense?
And just when you think it can’t get any better (or worse), I read last year the Greek life community at Ohio Wesleyan University awarded him as a “perfect role model” and for leading “the fight to dismantle fraternity stereotypes.”
Again, there is so much to unpack.
A few months ago, I wrote an article about the bullhorn-wearing man who stormed the Capitol on January 6th. I noted that I know the dude—not because I literally know this man, but because I know plenty of dudes like him. It’s not that my friends are like that, but in my 36 years on this planet, I had encountered a few representatives of toxic masculinity.
I have the same feelings toward Maxwell Berry, who allegedly assaulted these flight attendants. And I am not surprised that he still tries to defend himself (while insulting everyone on Twitter). He probably still thinks that this would have never happened if he had gotten the drink he ordered.
But that’s exactly the problem here.
Are flight attendants supposed to hand out drinks to aggressive passengers because they are scared of the reaction? Does that also go for a woman he asks out for a date? Does he think that not getting what he wants justifies unleashing his anger at the world around him?
To make things even worse, the airline company suspended the crew because they wanted to investigate if they used too much force against Berry—luckily, they changed their mind after the outrage on social media.
Maybe this is another proof of how social media can actually be of benefit. Without the videos and reports, the crew would have probably had a hard time defending themselves—after doing the right thing.
Maybe this could have been prevented long before the incident. And I am not talking about not letting Berry enter the plane; I am talking about his family, friends, and university.
It’s hard to believe that this behavior happened out of nothing. It’s hard to believe that this was the first time in Berry’s life when he showed signs of toxic masculinity. It’s more than questionable how a university could have awarded this man as a role model for anything.
Let’ start addressing signs of toxic masculinity before things like this even happen—flight attendants and other folks who work in the service industry don’t deserve to experience any of this.