Last week, a couple was kicked off a JetBlue flight before it left JFK after they expressed their displeasure with fellow passengers Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. Now, a group of "Right Wing Millennials" has started a petition to get one half of the couple, Hunter College professor Matthew Lasner, fired—even though he didn't actually have any direct contact with Trump whatsoever.
The Change.org petition page against Lasner, credited to Brendan Bradley ("I am a conservative political activist and analyst, writer and sales professional; an Atypical millennial."), has accumulated over 6,000 signatures so far. Their page reads: "Matt Lasner's conduct is a direct representation of Hunter College. We believe his immature and cruel harassment of Ivanka Trump and her family at JFK airport should be met with disciplinary action. The fact that someone who would be involved in such conduct is teaching students is very troubling. We are petitioning that Hunter College take ACTION. Someone like Mr. Lasner, who would harass a mother and her child simply trying to go about their day, does not deserve the honor of teaching. The fact that he tried to cover up and change the story around to avoid the consequences of his actions is also a testament to his character. He is NOT a good example for our youth."
Lasner and his husband, Brooklyn lawyer Dan Goldstein, as well as their child were removed from the San Francisco-bound flight around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. While outlets such as TMZ initially reported that Goldstein was "screaming" and "out of control" when he supposedly confronted Trump, a witness later revealed that there was no yelling whatsoever, and only a few exasperated words were said as the couple passed by Trump while boarding. More importantly, Goldstein was the one who made the remarks—not Lasner. But why let details like that get in the way of an old-fashioned academic witch hunt!
A petition like this, of course, is nothing more than a symbolic gesture (Hunter College administration: "Oh dear God, we must do what the online petition demands!"), no matter how many words the Daily Mail devotes to covering it. But it is worth paying attention to the mindset behind it, which positions this as the latest battle in the war on PC culture. Here is further explanation on the petition from Facebook group Right Wing Millennials, which created it:
Ever wonder why we have "Safe Spaces" and a "Trigger Warning" environment at our colleges? Ever wonder just why college students are resorting to blocking traffic or acting out violently in futile attempts to convey their message? Ever wonder why so many students and young people in general condemn Capitalism and supported a self proclaimed socialist during this past Presidential Election? It's largely because of professors like Mr. Lasner who encourage this type of behavior and mindset. It's time to be preemptive, because who do you think will be running the nation in a [sic] years from now?
This isn't the only blowback Lasner has received since the incident. The Amazon page for his book, "High Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century," has been inundated with one-star reviews and references to the incident, including, "Left me feeling verbally assaulted. Almost as if I had jetlag. I won’t be taking this flight again anytime soon."