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The Deeper Scandal of That Brutal United Video

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The footage is shocking. So is the law.

Derek Thompson, the Atlantic

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Apr 10, 2017 | It is the “re-accommodation” heard ’round the world: A passenger on an overbooked United flight from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday night was ripped out of his seat by uniformed officers and dragged down the aisle on his back like carry-on luggage, as several horrified passengers captured video footage of his bloodied face on their phones.

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The incident created a firestorm online, which only intensified after United published a mealy-mouthed statement on Monday morning that seemed to blame the bruised customer and apologized only for “the overbooking situation.” After several hours, punctuating the sordid event with the least human-sounding statement in crisis-PR history, United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized "for having to re-accommodate” customers, as if the brutalized passenger had merely been asked to switch from an aisle seat.

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at the  Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the media. He is the author of the book Hit Makers.

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