When confronted on the streets by an anti-vaxxer Youtuber, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, lost his cool and told the man to “f*ck off.”
An anti-vax Youtuber was heckling the CEO of Qantas on the streets of Sydney but for all the wrong reasons. Joyce was walking down George Street in Sydney’s Central Business District when he was asked to take a picture with Simeon Boikov. Boikov, a Youtuber, then began to ask Joyce questions about the vaccine mandate on Qantas employees.
“Why did you not allow the people who weren’t jabbed to work mate? That’s a bit of a disgrace,” he asks the airline boss in a near three-minute video posted on Wednesday.
“Why are you doing this for?… You’re just annoying,” Mr Joyce replied.
To be clear, when Qantas surveyed their 22,000 employees for their views on vaccines- of the 12,000 that responded- the airline reported that 89% of responses said they were already vaccinated. Only four percent of responders said they were unwilling to be vaccinated.
“Having a fully vaccinated workforce will safeguard our people against the virus but also protect our customers and the communities we fly to,” Mr Joyce said at the time.
“One crew members can fly into multiple cities and come into contact with thousands of people in a single day.
“Making sure they are vaccinated given the potential of this virus to spread is so important and I think it’s the kind of safety leadership people would expect from us.”
If the 4% is extrapolated to their entire workforce, it amounts to 880 people. This number is far smaller than the layoffs Qantas has put into effect over the course of the pandemic, which saw its workforce decrease from 30,179 people to the now 22,000 people it employs in 2022— a ten-fold decrease in comparison to the number of employees who reported not wanting to be vaccinated.
Many of these layoffs, throughout the pandemic, were made due to a decrease in flights. But when the flights picked up again, Qantas didn’t make the necessary adjustments and their workforce quickly became understaffed and overworked. In short, they chose to increase their margins rather than provide humane working conditions for their employees.
Despite Boikov’s negligence of the larger issue with Qantas, he continued.
“You stopped your workers from working, you discriminate against people on medical grounds,” he pressed.
Mr. Joyce’s pace briskened before he asked: “Do you enjoy doing this? Just picking on people.”
Boikov appears to be misinformed on this point, as Qantas allowed for people with proven medical exemptions to forego the vaccine.
“You’re picking on people, I’m calling you out buddy,” Boikov said.
“Piss off mate!” Joyce replied.
The two continued their spat as they made their way further down the street.
“You discriminate against the unvaccinated and we’re calling you out buddy,” the YouTuber continued.
“And you just told me to piss off on camera, what a disgrace you are!”
Joyce became further agitated, which was most likely the goal of the Youtuber, and made a contrarian reply, “You’re a disgrace for annoying somebody just walking down the street”.
“You’re not a somebody, you’re a grub. That’s who you are mate,” Boikov said.
Joyce replied one last time, “Oh, f**k off.”