If you could spend an entire flight sitting next to a well-behaved dog, wouldn’t you?
Well, don’t talk to Mark Halperin then. The NBC political talking head was the subject of widespread ridicule this weekend after he complained about sitting next to an adorable Bernedoodle (poodle/Bernese mountain dog mix) named Charlie on a Delta flight:
To his credit, Halperin backpedaled less than 12 hours later when his followers pointed out that the dog may have been a service animal, and dog Twitter began to forgive him:
But the mystery persisted: why was the dog seated next to Halperin instead of his owner?
Halperin then went on a strange rant, blaming everything from Los Angeles traffic to overhead bin issues for the mix-up:
So it turned out Halperin’s rationale for posting this widely scrutinized photo was to both delight his Twitter followers with a picture of an adorable canine and point out that Delta was wrong to separate the animal from its owner. Needless to say, his initial two-word tweet didn’t clearly express this:
But wait, there’s more: it turns out Charlie wasn’t even a support animal to begin with. The dog’s owner, Anthony Pisano, is a Delta flight attendant who had paid for seats for both him and his dog (he didn’t pull rank like a United Airlines employee did recently).
What’s more, Pisano released a statement blaming Halperin for the whole thing.
“Halperin (I had no idea who he was) calls for a flight attendant and tells her that he refuses to sit next to a dog—those were his exact words,” Pisano said. “Next thing you know the lead flight attendant asked if I minded giving Halperin 6A. It was so strange he wouldn’t even look or speak to me about it. I couldn’t believe how rude this guy was, carrying on as I sat right next to him. So I obliged, he moved into 6A and left his shoes and a mess in his little first class cubicle area. I politely brought him his shoes and belongings…he literally looked the other way and that was that.”
To capitalize on the publicity, Pisano created a Twitter account of his own to let Halperin know there were no hard feelings:
Who’s a good boy?