- United Airlines captain Neil Swindells has resigned as head of the company’s pilot union.
- The resignation came after Swindells apologized for remarks made in a private pilot forum.
- The comments were insulting to gay people, women, and other ethnic groups.
United Airlines captain Neil Swindells has resigned days after being elected as head of the company’s pilot union.
Swindells’ resignation from United’s chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) came after he apologized for remarks that were insulting to gay people, women, and minority groups.
He said the comments were made in a private forum. Per CBS News, the comments were noticed by other pilots before his election.
In one September 2021 post seen by CBS News, the captain appeared to respond to another user by commenting: “Continuing to get your gay man on today I see.”
In a separate comment also seen by the news outlet, Swindells said: “And if my Aunt had a penis she’d be my Uncle.”
CBS News said it was provided with the messages posted under Swindells’ name, which were confirmed by other United Airlines pilots.
According to CNBC, days after United announced a new partnership with Emirates, Swindells posted: “And I’m sure EMIRATES had NOTHING TO DO with the EMIRATES MALE CAPTAIN being flanked” by a United “FEMALE FIRST OFFICER.”
On Tuesday, Swindells apologized for the comments, which he acknowledged included language “that was often colorful, heated, and inappropriate.” But he initially declined to step down, per CNBC.
After pressure mounted in the press and within the union, Swindells send out a resignation note to pilots on Wednesday.
In the note, seen by CBS news, Swindells said many of the comments had “been taken completely out of context and publicly weaponized.” But he added that he could not “ignore their existence and the damaging effect it has had on many of my fellow pilots.”
Representatives for United Airlines and Swindells did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside normal working hours.