In the latest bizarre incident of this 'lockdown summer' of COVID-19 social distancing measures and policies, Robert J. O’Neill — the former US Navy Seal who's long claimed to have taken the kill shot on Osama bin Laden during the famous May 2011 raid on the Abbottabad, Pakistan compound — says he's been permanently banned from Delta Air Lines for sharing a social media pic.
Specifically, he appeared to brag about flouting Delta's mandatory mask policy aboard flights in the post. A since deleted tweet and photo showed O'Neill sitting on a Delta flight Wednesday while maskless.
Other passengers all around him could be seen with masks, while O'Neill commented in the post, subsequently deleted when it became center of controversy: “I’m not a pu**y.”
"I didn’t delete my tweet. My wife did," he later wrote. A day later on Thursday, he tweeted, “I just got banned from Delta for posting a picture... Wow.”
“I had my mask in my lap. Everyone has gone crazy,” he stated additionally.
Needless to say the 44-year old who has been frequently featured in the media, especially on Fox News, for his heroism during arguably the US military's most famous terrorist targeted kill operation in history, set off a firestorm on social media, with other high profile people and even celebrities like Alyssa Milano piling on against him.
Milano and some others went so far as to dramatically claim the veteran and war hero might actually end up killing people by not wearing a mask:
You do realize you may be a-symptomatic and give the virus to other people that could potentially kill them. I think that makes you a sociopath. Besides, pussies are actually so strong that we can deliver human beings out of them. Please, I’m begging you, wear a damn mask.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) August 19, 2020
Weeks prior to the Delta incident, O'Neill vowed to stand his ground against authorities as well as social pressures which he says are ultimately overstepping bounds:
They can’t make you wear masks. They can’t make you take your temperature. They can’t make you quarantine. Wise up.— Robert J. O'Neill (@mchooyah) July 31, 2020
He hasn't backed down, instead going on the offensive against what he's cast as a fundamental issue of individual liberty.
After his original photo post went viral, in which he also decried the airline's "dumbass mask" policy, Delta said it would review the matter.
And some supporters on Twitter noted the irony of the whole situation:
I just banned @Delta . Next time someone hijacks one of your planes and flies it into a building, don't ask Seal Team Six to find who did it.— West Coast Hockey Bias (@MarcelAndRogie) August 20, 2020
An official Delta statement cited in The New York Post said subsequently, “All customers who don’t comply with our mask-wearing requirement risk losing their ability to fly Delta in the future.” It's even possible that Delta was willing to initially let it slide or at least look the other way, but then the social media mob jumped on the issue - led by celebrities - and the rest is history.