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Stories About United Passenger’s ‘Troubled’ Past Prompt Massive Backlash

News outlets look into the life of the passenger who was dragged off a flight, and Twitter isn’t having it

People on social media are slamming news media outlets for covering the past of David Dao, the passenger who was dragged screaming from an overbooked United flight.

Outlets like the Courier-Journal, The Chicago Sun-Times, TMZ, People, the New York Daily News and — full disclosure — TheWrap either reported or cited reports that Dao previously had a suspended medical license and prescription drug felonies. But as many noted, the men who dragged Dao off the flight had no way of knowing about his past, and it has nothing to do with the treatment he suffered.

“His past convictions are just that – past and have nothing to do with how David Dao was mistreated-mishandled on the flight,” one person on Twitter said in response to a Courier-Journal story about Dao. “Officers wrong.”

“Because United bullied David Dao off the flight the media is now airing out his dirty laundry and past problems,” another user tweeted.

“To the press that paints a pretty picture of United in this issue against David Dao, just stop. United was wrong in handling the situation,” tweeted another.

Video of Dao’s now-infamous removal shows security agents dragging him screaming from his seat as other passengers look on in shock. In a statement, United tried to stress that the men who dragged the passenger did not work for United. The Chicago Department of Aviation said an officer had been placed on leave and that the dragging “was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure.”

A few hours after the incident first surfaced on social media, United CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement: “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.”

Later footage showed Dao bloody and disoriented as he repeated “just kill me.”

See the tweets below.