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UPDATE 3/15/12: Gailen David, the American Airlines flight attendant who mocked the airline in a series of YouTube videos, has been fired, reports NBC Miami.
A spokesman for American Airlines did not mention the videos in a statement, instead claiming that David's termination was due to his publishing private details of American passengers and promoting of American's competitors on his website.
David contends that it was the videos that led to his being fired and will appeal the airline's decision.
PREVIOUSLY 2/14/12: American Airlines has had a rough winter.
Ealier this month, the airline announced it wanted to cut 13,000 jobs and end pensions, and is discussing a possible merger. Oh, and don't forget the roughly $30 million townhouse in London or its lack of a sense of humor over Alec Baldwin's "Words With Friends" incident .
American is going through a rough patch, certainly, but longtime employee Gailen David made things more difficult after he posted a series of videos mocking the airline. In the videos, the Miami resident dresses up as a woman and pretends to be a female executive discussing budget cuts and even reads a letter to the camera written by an actual executive.
American has reacted angrily, calling David into a disciplinary meeting on Friday that he did not attend. David's feeling? "You know what? It gave everybody at American a laugh that we so needed... I'm not taking them down because too many people are enjoying them right now," he told NBC Dallas-Forth Worth via Skype.
The airline isn't laughing. "We expect our employees to treat one another with respect," company spokesman Bruce Hicks said in a statement to the station. "While we recognize our employees' right to express their viewpoints, we have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to attacking or harassing other employees."
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants is standing behind one of their own. Laura Glading, union president, told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth: "Anybody who can get us to smile under these circumstances, I applaud...American has completely overreacted. We support Gailen."
David's OK with being fired, saying it was either this or budget cuts that would do him in. "We all have tried to deliver such great customer service," he said. "And in return, it feels like we keep getting kicked in the gut, so this was a time for me to do something to make us all laugh for a change and really say what needed to be said."
David isn't the first flight attendant to egg on his employer. JetBlue flight attendant Steve Slater gained folk hero status for cursing passengers and jumping down the plane's emergency chute over frustrations with his job in August 2010.
What do you think? Should David's action should get him fired?
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story called the flight attendant union the American Association of Flight Attendants. It is called the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. We regret the error.