A high-profile Delta Air Lines flight attendant is no longer with the company after heightened scrutiny of her social media posts about race issues.
“We have zero tolerance for racism, bigotry and hateful acts. The employee no longer works at Delta,” Delta spokesman Anthony Black said Thursday.
The Atlanta-based airline wouldn’t say if the flight attendant, Kevin Jennings, had quit, been fired or took the company’s early retirement program. But Delta said her departure followed a full investigation into her posts.
Jennings said Thursday: “I’m not going to be making a statement at this time.”
Her departure comes amid increased sensitivity among companies toward online posts following several days of countrywide protests against racial inequality and police treatment of African Americans. Many companies, including Delta, have spoken out publicly against racism.
Jennings was often selected by management in recent years to represent Delta at company events. Last year she won the airline’s prestigious Chairman’s Club award, given to top employees who are called role models for their peers and embody Delta’s values.
But she has also been known over the years for her opinionated social media commentary on race issues, and her posts have drawn criticism in recent days from consumers and employees.
Last Friday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian sent a memo asking employees to report any racism or discrimination against Delta employees. It “broke my heart,” he added, to read comments about racism that people had experienced.
“Above all we need to ensure a workplace where all employees can feel safe — both physically and psychologically,” Bastian wrote in the memo.
In one June 7 post, Kevin Jennings under the Twitter handle @kevintheflygirl responded to a post about a police chief who joined protesters lying on the ground in solidarity: “I’m not sure what this proves??? Other than this cop is a follower, which means he is not a leader.”
On May 29, in response to a tweet about Antifa, the same account tweeted, “I see plenty of scrawny black anarchists out there too.”
In 2017, as Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests made news, a tweet attributed to Jennings said: “Are we going to #takeaknee at The Olympic Games? How embarrassing that notion is. Grow up people.”
Some of Jennings’ social media posts have been taken down or made private in recent days, but users have shared screenshots and posts are visible in Internet archives.
During her time at Delta, Jennings played a prominent role supporting management’s position against unionization of flight attendants. Pro-union employees at Delta are among those who have raised concerns about Jennings’ posts in recent days.
Travel blog Jetiquette this week criticized Jennings’ commentary, including comments dating back to last year and earlier.
Delta has taken a vocal stance on a variety of political issues in recent years, including marriage equality and gun violence, even amid criticism from customers and political leaders. Bastian has said in public forums that “our values are not for sale.”
Delta is supporting hate crimes legislation in Georgia. It also has joined businesses in Minnesota calling for lawmakers there to pass legislation for policing reforms “focused on both preventing unacceptable police behavior and ensuring that perpetrators of racist actions are held accountable.”
While there has also been a push for police reform in Atlanta, Delta said its efforts in its home state are currently focused on the hate crimes bill.
In a memo on Thursday, Bastian wrote: “I want to make it clear that Delta’s workplace must remain safe and welcoming for all Delta people. We will not tolerate racist, bigoted or hateful acts or statements in our workspaces or directed at our people. This includes racial and other bigoted, hateful and offensive comments on social media by Delta people, which hurts our culture and our people.”
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