United Airlines continues to have nightmarish PR troubles.
The carrier's barrage of bad press began earlier this month, when cell phone footage of physician David Dao being violently dragged from an overbooked flight at Chicago O'Hare surfaced online, sparking worldwide outrage. To make matters worse, United CEO Oscar Munoz bungled the apology—in fact, it took him three tries to get it right.
The brand has quite a ways to go toward winning the public back, if a New York City film festival audience's reaction to a pre-movie United ad is any indication.
Before the opening screening of this year's Tribeca Film Festival at Radio City Music Hall this week, a 30-second commercial for United's business class prompted widespread derisive laughter from the audience, according to many people who were there.
The airline has been a sponsor of the festival since 2014, and organizers of the event issued a statement of support. Nonetheless, the ad has been pulled from the festival's remaining screenings.
In another development, meanwhile, things took a turn for the surreal.
A giant rabbit named Simon died while in United's care somewhere between London's Heathrow Airport and Chicago's O'Hare.
Simon was the offspring of the world's largest rabbit—the 4-foot, 4-inch, 33-pound Darius, though the 10-month-old Simon was expected to surpass his dad in size.
Simon was being flown to the United States to be delivered to his new owner, who had paid £2,000 (USD 2,600) for him. But the big bunny didn't make it.
United claims he survived the flight but was later found dead in a storage room in Chicago. The animal's breeder, Annette Edwards, suspects that he died in the plane's cargo hold.
But either outcome isn't great from Simon's point of view.