Just when we thought we’ve seen it all when it comes to offensive, idiotic and distasteful Halloween costumes, a new one goes viral on the internet. A JetBlue employee in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has recently gone under fire after insensitively deciding to dress up as a homeless person for Halloween and not just any homeless person either — a homeless Puerto Rican displaced by Hurricane María. Just let that sink in for a second.
A photo of the employee who has yet to be identified shows her posing at the JetBlue terminal at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport rocking a stained white t-shirt, ripped and stained pants, a plaid shirt, missing teeth, black makeup running down her face, a cup for change, and a plastic bag filled with few belongings. Now if you’re wondering how do we know this woman was specifically trying to dress like a homeless Puerto Rican displaced by the hurricane? She was also carrying a sign that read: “Homeless. Need help trying to get back to Puerto Rico or Cuba.”
Este fue el disfraz de una empleada de Jetblue en el aeropuerto de Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Quiero leer sus opiniones. pic.twitter.com/jbOiet5fec
— nats 🤍 (@nats248) October 31, 2019
There’s nothing clever or remotely humorous about this costume. It’s incredibly offensive and insensitive, giving off the impression that this person has no compassion or empathy for the thousands of Puerto Ricans who had to flee the island after the hurricane hit and the thousands of Puerto Ricans who actually lost their lives.
Puerto Ricans who were deeply offended by the costume took to Twitter to express their anger after a Twitter user who goes by the handle @nats shared the photo with a caption in Spanish that read: “This was the costume of a JetBlue employee at the airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. I want to read your opinions.”
“A @JetBlue employee in the Fort Lauderdale airport showed up to work in this racist and highly offensive ‘costume.’ People’s hardships and suffering should not be mocked like this,” one Twitter user wrote. “The company should have accountability for all their workers. Unacceptable!”
Some folks even threatened to stop flying with JetBlue if the airline didn’t fire the employee.
They need to fire her ASS and I demand a public apology from Jet Blue for their employees costume because as Puerto Rican I find it highly offensive and I personally won’t be flying Jet Blue until they issue a Public Apology to all 🇵🇷 and 🇨🇺 @JetBlue pic.twitter.com/0mzyHcQFVo
— Ashley (@dominopr777) October 31, 2019
JetBlue finally issued an apology statement over the weekend.
“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, told NBC News. “The situation was immediately addressed, and we apologize to anyone who was offended.”
This is upsetting on so many levels. First off, the fact that someone would go out of their way to dress in a costume that very obviously and even cruelly mocks survivors of Hurricane María, one of the deadliest national disasters in the U.S. that left thousands dead, displaced, and many without homes, is sickening. Secondly, JetBlue is the largest airline carrier in Puerto Rico. They have more than 50 daily departures from San Juan. This was in no shape or form a good look on the airline’s part. As far as whether or not the employee was actually fired, JetBlue has declined to comment.
Just when we thought we legit couldn’t get any angrier — more information is revealed. CBS reporter David Begnaud took to Twitter to let folks know that the employee is actually reportedly Puerto Rican. How wild is that? As for the confusion with “Cuba” being written on the sign, apparently that was because she was standing in the departure line for the Caribbean country.
Here's what I was able to find out about this: this @JetBlue employee is Puerto Rican.
She thought this costume would be funny. I'm told she realizes it wasn't & regrets it.
She added Cuba to her costume sign because she was standing in the departures line for Cuba. pic.twitter.com/YewbUqa7zi
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) November 2, 2019
“She thought this costume would be funny. I’m told she realizes it wasn’t and regrets it,” he wrote.
Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks it’s okay to mock people’s pain and struggles. This was absolutely no laughing matter.