An American Airlines pilot took over the PA system to rant about being gay. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
An off-duty pilot hijacked an American Airlines public address system to rant to passengers about being gay.
In a viral clip uploaded to YouTube, the Envoy Air pilot told uneasy and shocked riders after the flight landed in Chicago about how he was once suicidal and a sex addict.
Touting the three-minute-long rant as an Evangelical Christian “testimony”, Inside Edition reported, the unknown pilot said: “I was raped or molested as a young boy and left to deal with it alone
“I even started thinking of ways to end my life.”
“Every aspect of my life was filled with life,” he added. “My life was spiralling out of control, I became a sex addict.
“I am sorry if you are uncomfortable,” the man responded to a concerned passenger. “I just want you to hear me out.”
“I don’t give a s**t, bro,” another customer yelled. “Just let me off this damn plane.”
In a statement to the outlet, American Airlines confirmed that the incident took place 15 July and while the airline did not name the man, it confirmed that he is an employee of Envoy Air, an American Airlines subsidiary.
The pilot “accessed the public address system upon landing and made troubling comments until a crew member could intervene”, the statement read, adding that the pilot had been wearing American Airlines uniform but was not on the clock,
“To our affected passengers, we apologize for your experience and what you heard does not reflect our values.”
“This was nothing more than a very, very public cry for help,” veteran pilot Steve Cowell told Inside Edition.
Some outlets have used an American Airlines photograph pulled from the company website to illustrate the story. But the pilot, Rodrigo Ribeiro, and the man in the video are not one and the same, TMZ reported.
He has since sought to get the photograph removed from outlets using it when reporting on the story and is “considering taking legal action”.