The former Navy SEAL who shot dead Osama bin Laden faces a ban from Delta after he posted a maskless selfie from onboard a flight Wednesday afternoon.
Robert O’Neill, 44, who has been a vocal critic of face mask mandates implemented by several states said he wouldn’t wear one because he’s not a ‘p***y’ in a controversial tweet.
Delta said it is aware of the now-deleted image and O’Neill could be banned from the airline for a blatant breach of their policy on face coverings, according to The Intercept.
O’Neill has remained defiant, however, telling his critics to ‘come get some’.
O’Neill posted the selfie on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon on what appeared to be a crowded flight, according to the New York Daily News.
It showed O’Neill smiling on board a flight with a flight attendant in the background wearing a mask.
Another man in a mask and Marines cap is seen in the row across from him.
O’Neill claims he didn’t delete the pictures despite the outrage as he doubled-down on his hatred of masks.
‘I didn’t delete my tweet. My wife did,’ he wrote.
Before the tweet was taken down, the backlash had already begun, however, as the selfie was screenshot and shared by a deputy editor at the New York Times, Dan Saltzstein.
‘I deleted a previous version of this tweet because I broke my own rule about name-calling,’ he said of the selfie.
‘So let me try again: I honor O’Neill for his sacrifices to his country and his heroism. It’s sad that he can’t extend the same for the safety of his fellow passengers.’
His previous tweet had read: ‘I don’t know this man but: counterpoint, you might just be because you’re not willing to sacrifice and be a little uncomfortable for your fellow humans (including that marine behind you)!’
Many were outraged at O’Neill’s picture with actress Ayssa Milano responding directly to tell him he could have killed people.
‘You do realize you may be a-symptomatic and give the virus to other people that could potentially kill them,’ she wrote to him in a tweet.
‘I think that makes you a sociopath. Besides, p*****s are actually so strong that we can deliver human beings out of them. Please, I’m begging you, wear a damn mask.’
Others rushed to his defense, however, stating that O’Neill put his life on the line for the U.S. and couldn’t be called selfish for not wearing a mask.
‘That’s right. Life on the line and three shots into OBL for all of us…but doesn’t wear a mask (that doesn’t really work anyway) and he’s all of the sudden selfish,’ wrote Benjamin Prol.
‘NYT editor tells the Navy SEAL who killed Bin Laden that he’s not willing to sacrifice,’ said Spectator Washington Editor Amber Athey of Saltzstein’s comments. ‘Beyond parody.’
‘I think he should’ve just worn the mask, but also maybe Google who you’re tweeting at before you make an ass out of yourself and undermine your own argument?!’
O’Neill himself was ready for the backlash and continued to tweet throughout Wednesday evening, calling out those who tried to condemn him and claiming that masks weren’t needed to protect lives.
‘I shook thousands of hands and gave thousands of hugs this week. I flew on some planes. I’ll be alive next week,’ he wrote, while others such as Milano argued that people he shook hands with may not be.
‘I do wear a mask, @Alyssa_Milano,’ he responded. ‘This attempt at a joke did NOT go over well … ‘
‘I’m not afraid of the mob. Come get some,’ he added in another tweet.
‘I am not the bad guy. I Killed the bad guy.’
This is not O’Neill’s first anti-mask Twitter rant. Just last month he called on people to ‘wise up’ and said they could not be forced to have their temperature taken or quarantine.
‘They can’t make you wear masks. They can’t make you take your temperature. They can’t make you quarantine. Wise up,’ he wrote on July 31.
O’Neill’s actions Wednesday, however, were in direct contradiction of new rules imposed by most U.S. airlines that requires passengers to wear a face covering at all times, as social distancing can not be maintained on board.
Deltas, which it appears he was traveling with, has said it is cracking down on customers who try to get away with it.
The airline has said they are aware of the incident and that he may face a lifetime ban.
‘We’re aware of this customer’s tweet and are reviewing this event,’ a spokesperson for Delta told The Intercept.
‘All customers who don’t comply with our mask-wearing requirement risk losing their ability to fly Delta in the future. Medical research tells us that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to reduce the COVID-19 infection rate.’
O’Neill served in the Navy since 1995.
He was the person to shoot bin Laden three times in the head during a top-secret May 2011 raid on his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The Intercept states he was forced from the team shortly after the raid after it was discovered that he was openly bragging about being the man to shoot Bin Laden as he frequented Virginia Beach bars.
O’Neill also took part in the 2009 rescue of the captain of a merchant ship taken hostage by Somali pirates. The mission was later the subject of a Tom Hanks movie named ‘Captain Phillips’.
His Twitter bio reads: ‘Kentucky Colonel. I shot a famous guy. Thrice.’