Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Chinese/American man dragged from plane is identified; United scrambles to rectify PR nightmare

David Dao
THE MAN who was violently dragged off a United flight Sunday has been identified as David Dao of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. He is reportedly recovering from the physical and emotional wounds in a Chicago hospital.

He, indeed, was a doctor, a claim he made when United employees initially tried to remove him from Flight 3411 in Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Dao refused to leave his seat because he said he had patients to see the next day.

When he was adamant  and continued to refuse to give up his seat, United employees called on airport security to remove him. His violent removal was captured on other passengers' smart phones showed Dao getting a bloodied lip and being dragged down the aisle. Other passengers could be heard expressing their horror over his treatment.
RELATED: Video of man dragged off of flight
Dao’s wife, Dr. Teresa Dao, has a medical practice in Elizabethtown. She was seen in the videos following the guards when her husband was ousted. Office staff at her clinic told the Courier-Journal Tuesday that neither Dao nor his wife wished to speak with its reporter regarding the incident.

Dao told WLKY in a story Tuesday that he is recovering in a Chicago hospital after he collapsed on the plane and carried off in a stretcher. When asked what his injuries are, he said “everything" and that he was not doing well.

United has come under scathing criticism since the incident. Twitter users are calling for a boycott and Chinese social networkers joined in the boycott drive. China is United's biggest growth area. The videos of the incident went viral on Weibo, China's equivalent to Twitter, and got over 100 million views. China's media focused on Dao's claim that he was being singled out because he was Chinese, which he shouted out before being dragged down the aisle.

After being criticised for Monday's glib apology in the wake of the incident, United chief executive Oscar Munoz made another attempt at an apology.

“The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened,” he said. “Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologise to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way."

Earlier Tuesday, United's stock was off about 4 percent, or close to $1 billion off the company's market value. That apparently was the reason for a more "compassionate" apology issued later in the afternoon. After the mea culpa from the CEO, the stock had recovered from the worst losses -- but its market value was still off by $250 million.

Munoz used Twitter to issue this revised apology:

Dao, who went to medical school in Vietnam in the 1970s before moving to the U.S., had a troubled past, causing him to lose his medical license. He worked as a pulmonologist in Elizabethtown but was arrested in 2003 and eventually convicted of drug-related offenses after an undercover investigation, according to the documents filed with the state board of medical licensure.
He lost his license and was working to regain it when the United incident occurred.

Dao's past, however troubled it may seem, shouldn't be relevant to how he was treated on United's Flight 3411.