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United Investors Aren't Pleased; Stock Falls As China Fumes Over Booted Passenger

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United Investors Aren't Pleased; Stock Falls As China Fumes Over Booted Passenger
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The man who wouldn’t leave the plane just won’t go away.

Shares of United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE: UAL) were down more than 4 percent in early trading on Tuesday as outrage spread over the violent removal of a man identified as David Dao, a doctor, from a United jet preparing to depart Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Sunday.

Video of the man, his face bloodied, screaming as he was dragged off the overbooked flight went viral in China, where it received hundreds of millions of views and triggered calls for a boycott of United Airlines, the top U.S. carrier to China.

Speaking to the Washington Post, fellow passenger Tyler Bridges said of the man removed from the aircraft: “He said, more or less, ‘I’m being selected because I’m Chinese.’”

He was among four people asked to leave the flight to make room for four United employees on the Louisville, Kentucky-bound flight.

United CEO Lays Blame On Passenger

The lingering storm prompted to United CEO Oscar Munoz to issue a note to United employees Monday evening after his first public statement was essentially an apology to passengers and not Dao. His second statement, which came in an email obtained by CNBC, clearly blamed Dao for the disruption.

Munoz — picked by PRWeek as “Communicator of the Year” a month ago — said Dao "raised his voice and refused to comply," and each time he was asked to leave, "he refused and became more and more disruptive and belligerent."

Crew members "were left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight," Munoz wrote, and at one point the passenger "continued to resist — running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both our crew and security officials."

Dao was identified as an Elizabethtown, Kentucky, physician by the Louisville Courier-Journal.

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Image Credit: Still from Jayse David Anspach's video of "a man [...] dragged off a United plane after the airline overbooked the flight," via BuzzFeed.

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