The anonymous woman of #PlaneBae fame has spoken, and she’s telling everyone to please fuck off.
She released the blunt statement Thursday evening, a little over a week after she became the subject of a viral Twitter thread and Instagram story by actress and internet personality, Rosey Blair, who documented what she thought was a love connection between the anonymous woman and another man.
Here is the woman’s full statement, courtesy of Business Insider:
I am a young professional woman. On July 2, I took a commercial flight from New York to Dallas. Without my knowledge or consent, other passengers photographed me and recorded my conversation with a seatmate. They posted images and recordings to social media, and speculated unfairly about my private conduct.
Since then, my personal information has been widely distributed online. Strangers publicly discussed my private life based on patently false information. I have been doxxed, shamed, insulted and harassed. Voyeurs have come looking for me online and in the real world.
I did not ask for and do not seek attention. #PlaneBae is not a romance - it is a digital-age cautionary tale about privacy, identity, ethics and consent.
Please continue to respect my privacy, and my desire to remain anonymous.
I’m more than happy to see this as the final nail in the coffin of this clusterfuck of a saga, but not before we talk frankly about Euan Holden, the former professional soccer player who was the anonymous woman’s seatmate and culpable, if not complict, in the woman’s aforementioned online harassment.
If you’re unaware of the details of #PlaneBae, here’s a crash course: On July 3, Blair swapped seats with the anonymous woman on a flight from New York to Dallas so she could sit next to her boyfriend in the next row. A man—Holden—ended up sitting next to the unidentified woman. Blair sensed a love connection. For a large portion of the flight, Blair made an Instagram story and livetweet thread about the couple. She and her boyfriend gushed over their every move—like every time the mystery duo’s arms touched—and eavesdropped nonstop.
Blair also took photos of the two, and while she dutifully obscured their faces, she assured her audience that the guy was a total hunk and the girl was very pretty. Blair additionally noted a moment when the two disappeared to the bathroom, implying that the two joined the mile-high club.
The thread had hundreds of thousands of retweets and countless online voyeurs thirsty for updates and blessing the existence of in-flight WiFi.
By July 5, the viral thread made the late night circuit, and Blair and Holden were interviewed on the Today show.
“From the moment we kind of buckled our seatbelts until we touched down on the ground, the conversation just kind of took off,” Holden said. “She’s a very, very lovely girl, very attractive, beautiful. Had a lot to say, very intelligent.”
They were in contact, he said, and he hoped they’d meet again.
All the while, the anonymous woman remained anonymous.
Blair also announced as much to her followers in a video and added—with a coy smirk—that people will probably find her.
“So we don’t have the gal’s permish yet, but I’m sure you guys are sneaky,” said Blair. “I think you might...”
Blair’s boyfriend gently told her not to encourage them. Blair squeaked. The video ended.
People did, in fact, find the anonymous woman, and promptly inundated her with enough harassment that she deleted all of her social media accounts. This week, the #PlaneBae backlash was in full swing, prompting a flurry of critical think pieces: “Two Strangers Met on a Plane—and the Internet Ruined It;” “That viral “strangers on a plane” Twitter story: Not a rom-com but a horror show;” “The dark side of going viral;”“How the viral story of #PlaneBae brought out the worst in everyone;” “The Problem With “Plane Bae” and Using Strangers for Entertainment.”
Blair deleted much of the infamous Twitter thread, and by July 10 issued an apology, stating that she was so caught up in the story that she didn’t consider the “potential exploitative nature of the outcome and my actions.”
Understandably, most ire has been directed toward Blair, but let’s talk about Holden, who’s having a grand ol’ time milking his 15 minutes.
First up, Holden’s most recent Instagram photos. He hasn’t updated in a week, but screenshots taken by radio personality Alex Gervasi show that three captions on his Planebae-adjacent photos have been edited since they were first posted. Initially, they all alluded to the mystery woman, and how she was weighing on his mind, like when he’s sitting in his kitchen, shirtless.
This caption now exists sans the heart emoji:
This caption has been changed to say, “Thinking of ways to make the world a better place 🌎”
This one now says,“Never stop smiling, the world is a beautiful place🌎❤️”
Remember when Blair implied that mystery woman and Holden got down and dirty in the plane bathroom? Well, someone on Twitter asked Holden about that. His response: “A gentleman would never say.”
The coyness of his response doesn’t feel particularly chivalrous—especially considering the fact that the anonymous woman was allegedly slut-shamed.
In the wake of the #PlaneBae backlash, Holden has pivoted to away from cheeky soccer bro to what seems more like a type of Positivity™ bro. On Wednesday, Holden shared a video of his thoughts about #PlaneBae, privacy, and spreading the love, man.
This entire ordeal is embedded in misreading the intentions of strangers, so I feel slightly uncomfortable doing the same to Holden. But given his initial reactions to the #planebae frenzy, it seems to me that his concern about the anonymous woman’s breach of privacy is very much secondary to all the good Holden is confident will come out of this.
“I hope that this story, if nothing else, can shine light on the topic of privacy,” Holden said, after saying that the doxxing of the anonymous woman put a damper on the week. He also said hopes this will create a “platform for positive talks,” which sounds nice, but doesn’t actually mean much of anything.
“Third person involved—incredibly, incredibly supportive this whole week, we’re in constant communication, making sure that she was okay with the direction that it was headed, with what was being said—ultimately just wanted her privacy respected, and rightly so,” said Holden. “But ultimately the message was to continue to share happiness and the excitement that was out there. That brings me to my week.”
Holden goes on to describe this week as humbling, and how great it was to have his inbox filled with emails from people from all over the world. He also emphasizes the importance of looking up from your phone every now and then, lest you miss the connection of a lifetime.
Of course, neither Blair or Holden’s intentions were malicious, but that hardly matters when said good intentions get someone doxxed. Holden’s cryptic Instagram posts and tweets didn’t help; if anything, they helped fuel people’s obsession with finding, outing, and harassing a random woman who was the unwilling star of another woman’s fantasy world. And while Blair seems to be trying her best to distance herself from the meme she started, Holden seems less interested in doing so: #PlaneBae is still emblazoned proudly on his Twitter and Instagram bios.
“The world, at no time more than now, needs love,” said Holden in his YouTube speech. “Share the love, spread the love, and be kind to each other.”
He ended the video thanking the public for their interest: “You are the ones who made it so special for me,” said Holden. “Not the other way around.” Too bad his week of viral stardom was, to the woman in this story, a week from hell.