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Eye rolls at racist ex-BA hostess who says "I was framed"

SACKED: Joanne Wickenden shown in a screenshot from her racist Snap (left) and in her Plenty of Fish online dating profile

SOCIAL MEDIA reacted in horror to 23-year-old Joanne Wickenden's Snapchat video, made on September 22 in which she made derogatory comments about Nigerian customers, punctuated with laughs and claims that she was "only joking"; before finding out that she had since been sacked by British Airlines.

Wickenden's repulsive beliefs about her passengers and her foolish decision to broadcast them for all to see represents the latest in a string of complaints-gone-viral about airlines and their racist staff. Even Sir Mo Farah fell victim to such an experience last year with a Delta representative, who was in denial about his business class ticket, before being told he was a famous athlete.

Shamed former stewardess Wickenden predictably elaborated on the "only joking" trajectory, telling The Mail Online:

"I have been framed by another BA employee. They were encouraging me, egging me on to say things. They were recording me and sent it around to our friends."

Unless Wickenden had a gun pressed into the small of her back whilst busying herself with Snapchat filters, she was clearly spouting what she deems as truth, references to black male genitalia and all, as opposed to be 'framed'.


Credit: YouTube/Tony's - 24/7 Eyes

She may be cursing social media right now, and indeed others may point the finger at brands like Snapchat who make sharing our verbal diarrhoea all too easy and even de rigueur; positing Wickenden as a mere victim of the sharing culture who has had what she may liken to Trump's "locker room banter" unfairly exposed.

Let's recall the myriad inappropriate, offensive, racist, sexist, demeaning, unfair, cutting, misogynistic and hurtful comments we've heard people make, whether directly to our faces or about others when they thought no one was listening or that nobody would dare pull them up on their wrongs. Now, let's imagine what would have happened had they been streamed live. Would viewers have been shocked that a woman such as Wickenden held sexually degrading views on black men? Not at all!

Just because every offensive remark or thought made by BA staff, for example, isn't made public, it doesn't mean that racism or any other unfair 'ism' wouldn't have manifested in another way. Perhaps an eye roll meted-out in secret at a frequent flyer that prefers beef to chicken, or a whisper at the water cooler about a colleague's 'racist' support of Black Lives Matter, or more harmful than that, a derisive view of natural African hair in the mind of a hiring manager - I could go on all day.

How many of these 'micro-aggressions' (to coin another buzz phrase used to describe plain old-fashioned racism/racial prejudice) do we encounter, dismiss and ignore on a daily? How many times did Wickenden give off unintentional 'leakages' about her feelings towards black BA patrons before she became famous for 15 minutes?

This latest embarrassment for BA is testament to the fact that these deeply-held attitudes need to be challenged as they appear, no matter how insignificant or ‘jokey’ they may appear. Paying attention to everyday nuances in staff members’ public and colleague-facing interactions should be deemed a priority and not just carried out as part of a crisis management exercise or during insincere 'diversity' training.

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