Don't trust those viral videos that claim to prove Capitol rioters are being added to 'no-fly lists'


  • Videos of passengers being arrested or deplaned are going viral on social media, with some people claiming they show Capitol rioters being prevented from flying.
  • At least two of the videos actually depict other incidents involving unruly passengers.
  • Major airlines “have not committed to banning rioters who will be flying home after the ‘Stop the Steal’ protest,” according to reporting from Business Insider.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Multiple videos are circulating online that people claim show passengers being kicked off airplanes and placed on “no-fly lists” because of supposed involvement in the Capitol riots in Washington, DC, on January 6.

Despite being viewed by millions of people and still appearing on platforms like Twitter and TikTok, the claims associated with at least two of the videos appear to be false.

Two videos are going viral because of claims they show Capitol rioters being removed from flights, but the users who posted the footage say that’s not the case – and one video was filmed before the riot

One of the most circulated videos, currently with over 17 million views on Twitter, shows a man being kicked off a plane at a Charlotte, North Carolina, airport and yelling about it near the airport gate as onlookers watched.

“They kicked me off the plane, they called me a f—ing terrorist and they wanna f—ing ruin my life,” the man can be heard saying in the TikTok video. 

The video made its way to Twitter, where many users claimed the man wasn’t able to fly because of alleged involvement in January’s riots at the US Capitol Building.

The woman who posted the original video on her TikTok, username @heartlessbeech, clarified in a subsequent video on Monday that she wasn’t sure why the man was kicked off the plane. (The video was originally posted and credited to @heartlessputa, though the user changed it to @heartlessbeech after the video began to go viral.)

“I assumed it was because he didn’t want to wear a mask correctly, but after I posted it, a lot of people were saying he could be on some kind of no-fly list because he did mention being called a ‘terrorist’ and they wouldn’t say that if he just didn’t want to wear a mask,” she said in her follow-up video.

The woman goes on to say that she filmed the video on Sunday on Snapchat, but later posted it to her “three followers” on TikTok. User @heartlessbeech didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on where the video was filmed or which airline was involved.

Another video of two women getting arrested in a Fort Lauderdale airport has also gone viral on social media. On Sunday, it was shared by the Twitter account @DJEkin, which insinuated that the women were Capitol rioters in the caption: “When you get back from that DC trip and 12 been watching all them ‘lives’ you posted.” The video has received over 3 million views and 84,000 retweets at the time of writing.

But the TikTok account that posted the original video later said that the women’s arrests had nothing to do with the Capitol Hill riots and that the video was filmed in November 2020. The Tampa Bay Times reported that the two women were arrested on the charges of resisting arrest. One of the women was additionally charged with misdemeanor battery, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

Read more: More participants in the US Capitol riots are being identified and are facing disciplinary actions at their jobs

The TSA has not confirmed whether or not the subjects of the viral videos are on no-fly lists

It has yet to be confirmed whether or not the viral videos show people who are on the Transportation Security Administration’s no-fly list, Newsweek reports.

In a statement on its website, the TSA wrote that it remains on “high alert” following the riots at the Capitol. It also clarifies that any passenger on the no-fly list cannot be issued a boarding pass and is therefore unable to get past security checkpoints. 

When contacted by Insider about the videos, a TSA spokesperson said, “For security reasons, we do not discuss the details other than to confirm that there are always multiple layers of security in place and that travelers may notice additional law enforcement and canine presence, especially when events justify an increased security posture.”

“What I can tell you is that TSA is always on high alert,” the spokesperson went on. “We prepare for all contingencies. As it relates to the no-fly list, we will accommodate FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] requests and congressional authorizations related to no-fly lists.”

The FBI declined to comment to Insider.

Read more: The Capitol riots caused chaos in the skies as airlines flew protesters home from a violent day in Washington, DC

Flight attendant unions have called on the TSA and airlines to keep Capitol rioters from flying

In an effort to keep rioters who stormed the Capitol from flying back to DC, flight attendant unions, including the Association of Flight Attendants and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, have banded together to call on the TSA and airlines to keep Capitol rioters from flying.

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), told Forbes, “We support the swiftest action with clear consequences and clear rules for keeping these people off planes.”

Nelson went on to say that the FBI and TSA could be doing more to make sure that the rioters don’t find their way back to the Capitol via an aircraft.

“An airline could say ‘we have banned this person because of XYZ’ and that could actually become an individual ban on each airline,” Nelson told Forbes. “Typically this would not be something that the airlines would do themselves, but this is not a typical time.”

Business Insider reports that major airlines “have not committed to banning rioters who will be flying home after the ‘Stop the Steal’ protest.”

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