Tiffany Gomas, the Dallas marketing executive who went viral for an American Airlines meltdown in which she declared "that motherf---er is not real" and inspired a storm of debate and memes, is back on her feet more than a month after the humiliating video stormed the internet.
Instead of going into hiding, Gomas has embraced her sudden infamy, apologized for the disruption and rebooted her social media presence with a campaign "promoting positive mental health and standing up against cyberbulling."
Gomas, with her marketing experience, took some positive steps in her apology, according to Lauren Cobello, a crisis marketing expert and the founder and CEO of Leverage with Media PR. She took some time to calm down before issuing a measured response, she came across as humble, and she showed a "commitment to healing."
"She attached it to something that a lot of people struggle with, that she has struggled with, and she really showed care and dedication to passengers, especially the children, and that seemed really genuine," she said.
Gomas, 38, was charged with trespassing after a profanity-laced tirade before takeoff from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport July 2.
At one point, she gestures toward the rear of the cabin and shouts, "I don’t give two f---s, but I am telling you right now – that motherf---er back there is not real." The footage was first posted by a TikTok user @texaskansasnnn, but it has since been removed from that account.
More than a month after the experience, Gomas posted an apology on her social media accounts Monday and said she planned to promote positive mental health and fight cyberbullying after the ordeal.
"Distressed or not I should have been in control of my emotions and that was not the case," she said. "My use of profanity was completely unnecessary, and I want to apologize to everyone on that plane, especially those who had children aboard. Imagine trying to go through that and trying to explain to your kid what in the world just happened."
"We all have our bad moments, some far worse than others, and mine happened to be caught on camera," Gomas said, her voice cracking with emotion.
On the other hand – Cobello said the apology included some self-promotion that many Americans have found disingenuous.
"A lot of people are like, hey, you’ve kept us hanging for this amount of time, and yes you’re giving an apology, but you're coming at us like ‘I’m so sorry, but now come check out my website," she said.
A safer approach, Cobello said, would have been apologizing without the self promotion, and then moving forward on the issues of mental health and cyberbullying, which many Americans agree on.
"If she was my client I would have had her do the apology genuinely, without even talking about the website, and then we would have done a separate PR campaign about how this has affected her," she said. "We would talk about it in that aspect and do additional media – and then talk about the website."
The viral video not only inspired countless imitations and reactions online, it also has artists replicating the scene on canvas, stickers, T-shirts and memes.
One image by painter Travis Chapman shows an illustrated Gomas gesturing to a cabin packed with made-up characters – including Bigfoot, a unicorn and a big-eyed alien.
Gomas, in her video, acknowledged the memes and even said she herself had gotten a laugh out of them. But she didn't explain what she was talking about.
"She's given an apology, a heartfelt apology, but people are still kind of baffled," Cobello said. "We're talking about mental health and cyberbullying, but what happened on the flight? We're still confused. What are we talking about this guy is not real?"
Gomas' cell number appeared disconnected Tuesday, and she did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
According to the police report, Gomas initially got into an argument with a family member over her Apple AirPods before she told flight attendants she didn't think the plane was safe or could reach its destination in one piece.
The comedian Carrot Top was also a passenger on the flight. He told Fox News' "America Reports" that, at first, he thought the woman was involved in a domestic incident.
"Like, she brought this guy on a date, and ‘he’s not real.' He promised her a weekend and whatever, and it derailed," the comedian said.
But Gomas' apology video neglected to explain what she was really talking about, Cobello said, leaving the public's curiosity unquenched.
"As humans we need to forgive her and move on, but when you act like that and go viral, unfortunately, you have a commitment to the public now to at least come out and help the public set it at rest," she said. "That kind of lays in her hands."
If she continues down the right path, Gomas may have lucrative opportunities on the horizon, Cobello said, turning the embarrassing moment into a positive windfall through book deals, podcasting or public speaking.
"A lot of people aren’t given this opportunity to change their life…she does have the opportunity to do something," she said. "She says it beautifully, ‘I’m a human, and I make mistakes and my goal is to heal from this.' She set an intention of what her next steps are. Hopefully she can move on with her life in a positive way."
To do that, however, she'll need to focus, says Esther Kiss, a crisis PR expert and the founder of Born to Influence, who was less convinced by Gomas' apology.
"Although she mentions she'll try to use this scandal to do a bit of good in the world, she doesn't specify what she plans to do to turn things around," she told Fox News Digital. "Having shared a few ideas of exactly what she's planning to do would have gone a long way."