JetBlue Fires Employee Who Sparked Hostage Rumors Because She Had to Quarantine in Jamaica After Positive COVID Test

Illustration for article titled JetBlue Fires Employee Who Sparked Hostage Rumors Because She Had to Quarantine in Jamaica After Positive COVID Test
Photo: Kathy Willens (AP)

People have been carrying on with a whole lot of foolery in the year since the coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by storm, and sad to say, Black people have not been exempt from carrying out this foolery.

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In fact, one of the wildest stories I’ve heard during these unreal COVID-19 times is that of Kalina Collier, a woman who recently traveled to Jamaica to vacation for a few days and then triggered a social media movement calling for her “rescue,” by posting videos on Instagram saying she was being held in a hotel room on the island against her will, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.

By this weekend, however, authorities on the island were forced to make a public announcement that Collier had actually tested positive for the coronavirus and was undergoing mandatory quarantine before being allowed to fly back to the U.S., where everyone entering the country is required to show a negative COVID-19 test.

Meanwhile, Collier made it sound as though she were the unwitting lead character in an upcoming installment of Taken, with a series of Instagram Live sessions in which she suggested something very shady was happening to her—causing the hashtag #FindKalinaCollier to spread on Twitter.

That bit of drama resulted in Collier being fired from her job as a flight attendant with JetBlue Airways, the Gleaner reported on Tuesday.

The airline, which operates a robust business of flights to Jamaica from New York and Florida, also issued an apology to the Jamaican people and government for the “concern and frustration” the incident with Collier caused.

Among other things, Collier had claimed that she was being filmed by several cameras in a hotel room at the Ocean Coral Spring in Jamaica (the devices were actually sprinklers).

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Collier also complained about the food she was being served in the hotel, though its representatives told the Gleaner they provided her with a 14-day complimentary stay for quarantining and daily room service.

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After news spread online that Collier was kidnapped and possibly being trafficked, police in Jamaica issued a statement repudiating the rumors as “baseless and mischievous.”

From the Jamaica Gleaner:

Collier arrived in Jamaica on January 28 and was scheduled to depart on February 1.

On Saturday, January 30, Collier did an antigen test that returned a positive result; another test an hour later was negative.

Owing to the uncertainty surrounding the two tests, the Ministry of Health and Wellness recommended a PCR test on February 2, which came back positive.

She was given a 14-day quarantine order by the health ministry.

Moreover, US COVID-19 protocols would not allow her entry into the country with a positive result.

Collier made headlines after convincing social media influencers, including Amanda Seales, an US activist, that she was being held against her will.

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Comedian and actress Amanda Seales herself hopped online to decry Collier’s deception and called for her to be held accountable for her dramatic and highly suggestive posts which prompted the actress to begin advocating for the young woman to be saved.

Collier left Jamaica over the weekend, and has returned to Instagram after reportedly removing the initial videos she posted to the platform from her hotel room. She maintains that she was negative for COVID, but specifies that she was “never missing or kidnapped.” However, Collier claims that representatives from the Jamaican tourist board and police force “intimidated” and “harassed” her and her mother.

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All that trouble, just to spend five days in the Caribbean sun, amidst a pandemic, with the arrogance of believing there should be no questions asked of you—not even by health authorities. You hate to see it.

Writer, speaker, finesser, and a fly dresser. Jamaican-American currently chilling in Chicago.

DISCUSSION

loveheals
LoveHeals

This is disrespectful of those there who’ve ever been kidnapped or had a loved one kidnapped. Some folks lived and died from actual trauma without a fraction of all the attention/support she was able to garner by well-meaning people. Not to mention the privilege, entitlement and arrogance of disparaging the food and accommodation generously provided by the hotel. Everyone bloody well knows that Jamaica is one of the places that depends on U.S. tourism; they wouldn’t have deliberately created an incident. It’s rather disgusting that she talked dismissively about knowing “how Jamaicans are” when she carried her behind there ON VACATION specifically because she associates the place with a good time. I don’t know much about her, but even if she were to be Jamaican-American, it’s a bad look. If she’s African-American/Black American, it’s a bad look. Othering fellow Black/Africana people (and lying) just because you didn’t get your way is nasty.