It seems like just last month that United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz was being honored as PRWeek’s Communicator of the Year.

It would have seemed that things couldn’t have gotten worse for United Airlines after video of a passenger being forcibly removed from a flight went viral on social media. It really seemed that the passenger’s only crime was refusing to “volunteer” to be denied boarding on a flight that the airline had overbooked.

After a full day of taking a beating on social media, things managed to get even worse for United when an email from the CEO to employees began to circulate online, seeming to confirm everyone’s very worst suspicions: the passenger was politely asked to deplane to make room for crew members, and when he refused, things turned much less polite very quickly.

Uh oh … Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii has taken an interest.

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