Ryanair’s Twitter Jab Mocks Boris Johnson’s Christmas Party
(Bloomberg) -- Ryanair Holdings Plc dove headlong into the controversy over illicit government parties, ripping U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his cabinet in a Twitter post over the alleged flouting of social-distancing rules.
The discount carrier’s social-media team on Monday tweeted an image that listed mock government responses to coronavirus alert levels, ranging from “Small gathering with wine and cheese” to “Full on rave.”
The post was retweeted almost 7,000 times and generated more than 500 replies. Some web users were aghast, calling Ryanair inappropriate or insensitive to the real suffering caused by Covid-19. Others applauded the Irish airline for using levity to point out government hypocrisy.
The broadside isn’t totally out of the ordinary for Ryanair, whose outspoken Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary has excoriated government officials over their handling of the pandemic. He also compared the bailout of Deutsche Lufthansa AG to a “drunken uncle at the end of a wedding, drinking from all the empty glasses.”
Ryanair doubled down on its Christmas Party tweet with another one that joked that it had appointed Kim Kardashian West as a new member of its legal team to deal “with the aftermath” of the tweets mocking Johnson, following news about the reality star passing the California First-Year Law Students’ Examination, colloquially known as the “Baby Bar.”
Ryanair’s social media team is often irreverent, though as users pointed out, the company also accepted government aid after criticizing handouts to competitors.
Johnson has come under scrutiny over alleged festivities in Downing Street at the height of Covid-19 restrictions in 2020. Simon Case, the U.K.’s top civil servant, is investigating whether the alleged gatherings broke social-distancing rules, including a virtual quiz in which Johnson took part.
A spokesman for Ryanair declined to comment on the tweet. The company was among the airlines that asked the U.K. for economic support over the weekend as new travel bans choke off demand.
On Sunday, Johnson said that the U.K. faces an emergency over the omicron variant and announced an accelerated booster program to get the country through the crisis.
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