Elan Gale’s On-Flight Fake Fight

Be sweet, Lewis, be sweet.

Those were the words Mama Grizzard spoke to Lewis each morning as she sent him out the door into the big wide world of elementary school.

That’s southern-speak for be kind, be patient, be forgiving, be compassionate, be slow to anger, be gracious.

Sometimes I wonder if today’s parents aren’t sending their kids off to school with the admonition to “Kick ass, son. Kick ass.”

Consider Elan Gale and his mama. Elan, whose Twitter page identifies him as the producer of ABC’s The Bachelor, posted the picture of what he says is his momma’s message to a disgruntled woman named “Diane” that Elan encountered during a flight over the holiday weekend.

We only have Elan’s side of a totally made-up publicity-stunt story to go by, but according to him, a woman he described as  in her 40s or 50s and wearing “mom jeans”, became distraught when their US Airways flight to Phoenix was delayed. She let it be known that she wanted to get home for Thanksgiving. Elan felt Diane was being rude to the airline staff. So he began posting his thoughts about all that on Twitter.

Pretty soon, those thoughts of his erupted into a full-on Twitter-documented note-exchange confrontation between Elan and the woman known as Diane. You can read it all here.

The ABC producer was upset over what he deemed was rude behavior on Diane’s behalf. Her being short or curt or plain out pissy with airline personnel.

Elan has a point – everybody was likely trying to get somewhere important. What good does it do to be ugly to the airline staff? What can they do about a delayed flight?

So Elan sent her a glass of wine, with a note suggesting that if she is drinking she won’t be talking. Clearly Elan and others were weary of hearing Diane complain.

And thus ensued an on-flight pissing match between Elan Gale and Diane. For all his good intentions, Elan resorts to fighting dirty.

Perhaps his own ill-conceived behavior could be marked up to the stress of the holidays. Maybe he had too much to drink. Or maybe he was simply egged on by the notion of titillating his Twitter fans.

Whatever the case, his behavior  - and that of his own mother – was crass and just as ill-mannered as that of the woman Elan’s been so keen on correcting.

The Elan Gale-Diane episode reportedly ended when Diane stepped off the plan to the waiting Elan, another note in hand, and flat-out bitch-slapped him. Or so he reported. (What other ending could there be for a producer of The Bachelor?)

I wasn’t there, so I only have Elan’s word to go by but it’s a word that has been widely reported in news media’s across the nation. The HuffPo called Elan their new Thanksgiving hero.

That’s an ill-fitting label, even by Elan’s own admission: “Our troops are heroes. Fire fighters and policemen are heroes. Doctors and teachers are heroes. Flight attendants and pilots and waiters and baristas… These are the people that make things work in this crazy world.”

Elan is right about one thing – He is no hero. He, in fact, is just the flip-side to Diane’s coin.

Moralistic, condescending, arrogant, crass and every bit as bitchy as the woman he was attempting to put in her place.

Otherwise, away from the hot lights of Twitter and reality TV, I’m sure, he’s a perfect gentleman.

We would all do well to take Momma Grizzard’s advice to heart and make a more concerted effort to “Be Sweet”.

Life is difficult enough.

What do any of us gain by applauding such crassness?  We all lose when whenever one of us willingly contributes to the corrosion of culture – we lose a part of our own humanity.

About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • Mus Mus

    Beautifully said. :)

    • Karen Zacharias

      Thank you.

  • River Walker

    Excellent commentary on behavior. I was raised with the instructions to “be sweet”. I knew what it meant and I knew it was powerful.

    • poodlescoot

      yes, “be sweet” is a euphemistic way of controlling people’s behaviour so they are obedient religious minions.

      FUCK THAT.

      People need to be checked on outrageous behaviour that affects others.

      • Karen Zacharias

        You apparently missed the entire point of the post. Elan Gale made the whole thing up. The entire story. But the outrageous way in which others jumped on the story, to cheer him along — the way you are doing here — this is what reduces our humanity. Who checks you on your behavior?

        • poodlescoot

          where is the proof it was made up?

          • Karen Zacharias

            Where is the “proof” it’s not? Don’t you think if a woman stepped off a plane and slapped someone in front of God and everybody that woman would be taken into custody? According to FlyerTalk, this was a publicity stunt. TravelForum stated the same. Gale has a history of tweeting events that never happened. Why haven’t we heard from Diane? What fact-checking did the Huffington Post do? Or any of the other online media do before turning this into a social media buzz? We don’t have “proof” of anything. We don’t even know if Evan Gale is the tweeter’s real name, or that he really is a producer at The Bachelor… altho the face-slapping thing? That sounds exactly like a script a producer at The Bachelor would create.

          • JesusHC

            The Travel forums are gone without and without any proof either. Anyone can post to those boards. You can’t prove a negative so unless Diane or the gate agent comes forward you’ll continue to believe what you want to believe. Just like Jesus or God, Allah or global warming.

            However, I do think this post is hypocritical in that it rebukes this man’s account with no proof against it, being itself moralistic, condescending and self-righteous while quoting passages from children’s literature. …on a blog where you preach to people for what reason again?

            It’s all very self serving.

          • Karen Zacharias

            Quoting passages from children’s literature? FYI: There are others who are questioning the veracity of “Elan Gale’s” account: http://www.mediaite.com/online/calling-bullsht-on-elan-gale-delayed-thanksgiving-flight-note-passing-drama/ And this from Salon: http://www.salon.com/2013/12/02/elan_gale_diane_and_the_age_of_public_twitter_shaming/

          • swordcrossrocket

            Sadly women slapping men is considered acceptable in society. Most people would think the guy did something to deserve it, not call the cops on him.

      • sings22

        I want to know how you think being sweet has anything to do with being religious, which has anything to do with being a minion. If you live in a world where it’s stupid to be a decent, sweet individual, then I feel sorry for you.

        People do need to be checked, but there are other ways of doing it that don’t involve saying “eat my d—.”

        Of course, it’s also much more believable that this whole story was just an attention-seeking stunt by an attention-seeking wannabe hero.

        • poodlescoot

          there’s a difference between being considerate and “keeping sweet.” Warren Jeffs kept a lot of girls “sweet.”

    • Karen Zacharias

      It is powerful. We forget how powerful. Thank you for reminding us of that.

  • Langdon Alger

    I don’t understand it either. It was mildly entertaining but Gale came off as a complete asshole to me. Self-righteous customers are annoying but even worse are self-righteous service workers who feel that they have the right to be unprofessional. I’ve waited tables and worked in retail when I was young and I dealt with rude customers all the time but it was part of the job. I never spit in the food, I never threw a tantrum or posted my woes on Twitter for people to feel sorry for me (granted Twitter at the time did not exist). I did my job like as if I was paid to do it, which I was.

    Obviously that isn’t what happened here — the flight attendant did not spit in the wine or anything. But Gale’s justification of his actions were based on that line of thought, that customers are not any more special than workers. Maybe not in a human sense, but in a professional setting, a paying customer is essentially your boss. Asshole or not, you have to deal with it to the best of your ability because it is part of the job. News flash: in virtually any line of work you will be dealing with people, and people are emotional creatures that sometimes act irrationally.

    Also it is dubious that the flight staff would let you handle a drink before sending it to another passenger. Sounds like a huge legal liability, and if it were true I’m sure that the flight attendant who was a courier for the notes and possibly spiked wine would have been fired.

  • Langdon Alger

    Damn, I just realized I made a few typos but it won’t let me edit. “Like as if” is not something I typically write or say. Please believe me :)

    • Karen Zacharias

      No worries. We believe you. Thanks for your input. As you can see from above — it was all a fake.

  • http://youtube.com/user/BowmanFarm Brian Bowman

    Expect worse behavior as humans crowd themselves into closer quarters.

    “By 1930, sociologist Louis Wirth had described urban life as one of continuous aggression, frustration, interference and conflict as a consequence of an overload of social interaction leading to depleted social relations, personal grief and personality disorders.”

    Plumbing the ‘Behavioral Sink’: Medical Historian Examines NIMH Experiments in Crowding. (2008) National Institute of Health Record. Vol. LX, No. 15.

    • Karen Zacharias

      Thought-provoking… Makes sense…

  • Fallulah

    Sooo…let me get this straight, you are scolding the man who stood up for himself and others (using only words! and being generous in the meantime with the wine) and are defending the entitled, violent, maniac woman? Gotcha.

  • parkwood1920

    The entire “Diane” story is a hoax. Elan Gale admitted yesterday that he made the whole story up. http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/03/tech/web/web-hoaxes-2013/index.html?sr=sharebar_facebook


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