#PlaneBae, a Plain Violation of Privacy?
A livetweet of two people’s flirtatious conversation on a flight from New York to Dallas seemed cute at first, but it led to the humiliation of one party once the footage went viral.
Actress, writer and photographer Rosey Blair was on a flight last week and asked a woman, now identified as Helen, to switch seats with her so that Blair could sit with her boyfriend. After Helen agreed to switch seats, Blair joked that Helen could now be sitting next to her true love. Helen apparently did seem to have some chemistry with the man, retired professional soccer player Euan Holden a.k.a. #PlaneBae. Blair took notice of how well they hit it off and began live tweeting and documenting their interaction on Instagram.
Blair scratched out the pair’s faces so no one could identify them as she posted. Still, the thread got attention, lots of it, eventually going viral.
Seeing that the woman from that viral plane bae story has had to delete her social media bc of folks harassing her is so disturbing. I mean, ol girl’s initial chronicling of these strangers lives on multiple forms of social media was weird as f**k, but folks had to one up that.
— i write books containing solecisms. (@_nicolefalls) July 6, 2018
#PlaneBae was lauded and went on interviews with “Good Morning America” and the “Today” show. Helen, on the other hand, was harassed and had to leave social media. She was attacked for doing the same things the guy is praised for.
— Rin Chupeco (@RinChupeco) July 7, 2018
After some people criticized the thread as an invasion of privacy, Blair apologized and deleted the thread. Some celebrities who initially shared the post have now reversed course. In particular, Monica Lewinsky, who was also the victim of similar scrutiny and harassment after her involvement with former President Bill Clinton, commented on the thread.
though i winced from a few of the posts in the thread, i thought because their faces were blocked out it wasn’t too harmful. i know better than anyone that sometimes we can’t foresee the long-term consequences of our choices. 3/6
— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) July 9, 2018
Should Helen have to go into hiding for people to figure out that entertainment we are fond of at the expense of someone else’s loss of privacy may be too much? Blair assures that her thread was posted with nothing but good intentions, saying “the last thing I want to do is to remove agency and autonomy from another woman.” She apologized for “utilizing what could have been a beautiful charming moment among strangers as a tool to communicate a narrative I am fond of.”
How does one maintain a sense of privacy in a generation that feels entitled to publicizing other people’s personal lives? Blair seems intent on publicizing whatever else she can about the incident, offering Helen her “services” to “finish the story.”