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JetBlue Sued for Political Speech Mask Suppression

In response to being unconstitutionally silenced, seized, and abandoned in Florida for wearing a political speech mask, Ohio resident, Ryan J. Salo, has filed a complaint against the JetBlue Airways Corporation and its employees in the federal case of Salo v. JetBlue Airways Corp., N.D. Ohio Case No. 5:23-cv-00207 (Judge Sara Lioi).

On March 3, 2022, Salo wore a mask proudly displaying the American flag and proclaiming, “Let’s Go Brandon” through the airport, security, and check-in, as well as on a plane owned and operated by JetBlue while heading to Florida from Ohio.

“I wore the political speech mask as the political statement that I am unhappy with the direction our Nation is heading under President Biden and this political statement was both known and understood by JetBlue,” said Salo.

The anti-President Biden mantra, “Let’s go Brandon” is an unofficial motto of the Republican Party, a way to insult the administration, voice anger about its tenure, and signal irritation with the media.

On March 6, 2022, Salo again wore the political speech mask while attempting to return home to Ohio from Florida … until he boarded the JetBlue plane wherein JetBlue demanded that Salo remove the political speech mask.

“After complying with all instructions given by JetBlue, removing the political speech mask, and replacing the political speech mask with the plain mask provided by a JetBlue crewmember, JetBlue then ordered me off the airplane, from the airport, and abandoned me in Florida,” said Salo.

As JetBlue refuses to take any responsibility for violating his constitutional rights under the color of law beyond offering Salo what amounts to a few complimentary peanuts, Salo was left with no other option than to file a federal lawsuit against JetBlue and its employees.

“I am fighting to stop JetBlue from suppressing our political speech,” said Salo. “I am also fighting to force JetBlue to change its policies and procedures to ensure that all JetBlue crewmembers cease and desist from trampling upon the rights of those patriotic passengers who hold political opinions different from the suppressive opinions held by JetBlue.”

To read the complaint filed in this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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