State Employee Suspended After Video Of Her On A Plane Goes Viral, Causes Outrage

Updated March 7, 2018

A New York state employee’s job is on the line after she was filmed on a flight threatening a flight attendant. Susan Peirez has been suspended from her job as program director at the State Council on the Arts while the incident is being investigated. Peirez was aboard a Delta Air Lines flight from JFK to Syracuse on February 6 when she verbally attacked a flight attendant over being seated next to a baby.

Ronni Reich, director of public information for the Arts Council, explained in a statement:

“State employees are and must be held to the highest standard both professionally and personally. This employee has been removed from the office and placed on leave until further notice and until the inquiry is resolved.”

In the video, filmed by the mother of the child, Marissa Rundell, Peirez is seen saying:

“I’m not sitting by a crying baby,” mentioning that she works for the governor and threatening the flight attendant, saying, “you may not have a job tomorrow.”

The flight attendant responds:

“I want this lady off the plane.”

Rundell explained to Inc. that she posted the video on Facebook for family and friends to witness, not expecting it to go viral. She noted:

“I kind of feel bad for this lady. I don’t know her story, she doesn’t know mine. It might have been a misunderstanding.”

Delta released the following statement:

“We ask that customers embrace civility and respect one another when flying Delta. This customer’s behavior toward a fellow customer on a flight from New York to Syracuse was not in keeping with those standards. We appreciate our Endeavor Air flight attendant’s commitment to Delta’s core values and apologize to the other customers on board Flight 4017 who experienced the disturbance.”

Many who commented on social media applauded the flight attendant for her action, with one person writing: “Tabitha absolutely did the right thing. She saw what was coming once the flight would have taken off. I am glad she got rid of her because more than likely she would’ve made everybody’s flight miserable. Or maybe they would’ve had to land someplace else to get rid of her which would’ve made everybody’s flight miserable.”

Another commenter added: “The lady didn’t have to curse, she made a mistake, first of all she could have asked the airline to move her seat instead of causing a scene. Who can help if a baby cries, think about it, we all cried when we were babies, some maybe more than others. You just have to handle the situation in a different manner, the lady who complained was aggressive. I would have moved her just to keep her quiet, what an embarrassment.”

Another person weighed in on the video with this observation: “She thinks she can just get someone fired because she works for the governor, she forgot who pays her salary (or so hard working people including the woman with the baby and the airline). Good for the flight attendant for not taking and allowing abuse, she should get a promotion for acting so professionally.”