A young Delta passenger who filmed a fellow flyer’s rude rant against her and her baby says she now feels bad about the fallout from her video, which resulted in the suspension of a New York State government employee.
Marissa Rundell, 19, told Inc.com that she never imagined her footage would be viewed nearly 2 million times. She claims she merely wanted to show her family what happened aboard her Feb. 6 flight from New York City to Syracuse, after a woman seated across the aisle allegedly screamed at Rundell and her 8-month-old son.
"I kind of feel bad for this lady. I don't know her story, she doesn't know mine. It might have been a misunderstanding,” Rundell told Inc. “I was sharing [the video] for family members, and it started going crazy.”
Rundell originally shared a 45-second video clip of the incident to Facebook on Feb. 6. In it, a woman identified by Spectrum News as Susan Peirez — a program director at the New York State Council of the Arts — can be heard telling a flight attendant that she works “for the governor” before complaining about being seated next to a “crying baby.” Peirez then threatened to have the flight attendant fired when she learned she couldn’t be moved to a new seat.
Rundell also told U.K.’s Daily Mail that Peirez told her to “shut the f--- up and shove it” just prior to the start of the footage, after Rundell asked Peirez to watch her language around the baby.
Peirez could also be seen attempting to apologize to the flight attendant, but was ultimately booted after the staff member accused Peirez of having just "screamed at [Rundell] and her baby."
Ronni Reich, a director of public information for the New York State Council of the Arts, later confirmed to Spectrum News that Peirez had been placed on leave.
“State employees are and must be held to the highest standard both professionally and personally,” said Reich. “We were notified of this situation and have commenced an investigation.
Rundell, however, says she did not post her video to Facebook with the intention of getting Peirez suspended from her position.
"I don't [often] post really anything," Rundell told Inc. "This was a one-time thing and it happened … I totally was caught off guard with everyone who has been watching it. I didn't even realize that many people could see what I was posting."