Twist in the case of ‘drunk Karen’ kicked off Jetstar flight as passengers chanted ‘hey, hey, hey, goodbye’ – after revealing how her life fell apart when the video went viral
- ‘Drunk Karen’ appeals against recorded conviction
- Police dragged Erica Carlson from Jetstar flight
A woman labeled a “drunken Karen” after being escorted off a Jetstar plane to the cheers of her fellow passengers is appealing her “excessive punishment.”
Erica Jayne Carlson, 42, gained internet fame when footage went viral of her being escorted off a plane by five police officers in January as those still seated laughed and scornfully chanted “Na Na, Hey, Hey, Goodbye.”
Carlson pleaded guilty to a Commonwealth charge of abusive or disorderly conduct on an aircraft at Southport Magistrates Court in March.
Appealing the recorded conviction, Carlson’s attorney said his client had unknowingly become “the number 1 star of the internet.”
Attorney Michael Milligan told the Courier Mail the $1,500 bail and nine-month good behavior warrant handed to her was “excessive punishment.”
Footage uploaded to TikTok – accompanied by the text “If there’s a drunk Karen on board” – captured cops dragging the Erica Carlson from her seat on the Gold Caost in January
“This case has all the hallmarks of someone who should have been treated without conviction,” he said.
“Ms. Carlson wants to go to college and get on with her life, and the sentencing will affect that.”
No objection date has been set.
In March, the court was told that flight JQ361 from the Gold Coast to Avalon Airport in Victoria was ready to take off on January 8, 2023, as the incident unfolded.
Carlson flew to the southern state to see her two boys, who were staying with their father.
A cabin crew member saw Carlson “fall into her seat” and thought she was drunk, legal assistant Kate Thomson said.
The cabin crew member believed that Carlson was not fit to fly and asked her to leave the plane, the court heard.
Ms Thomson said Carlson repeatedly refused and became argumentative, filming the confrontation while federal police officers were called.
Footage uploaded to TikTok — accompanied by the caption “If a drunk Karen is on board” — shows officers dragging Carlson out of her seat during the incident.
One person is heard joking “five buyers…we could have done it all for free” while others laugh and film the encounter on their phones.
Another is heard joking, “Come on mom, get off.”
Passengers began chanting “Na Na, Hey, Hey, Goodbye,” from the 1969 song Kiss Him Goodbye by American band Steam.
Mr McMillan explained that the infamous footage began when federal police entered the plane and failed to capture his client’s altercation.
He said the “miscommunication” with flight staff escalated after Carlson became upset that she might not be able to fly again unless she paid for another ticket.
Carlson (pictured centre) was swarmed by the media outside Southport Magistrates Court last month
Mr McMillan also said his client’s drunkenness level was not measured after she was escorted off the plane, despite the cabin crew’s initial opinion of her.
The court was told Carlson had been given an extracurricular sentence after footage of the altercation went viral – including with news sites in the UK and US.
“She’s already endured one unfortunate, unhealthy public spotlight,” McMillan said.
“The only thing she’s saying that didn’t make this the worst experience of her life is that she wasn’t mentioned at the time.”
He said Carlson – who had no criminal record – was at risk of losing her part-time job at Lennox Head because of the unwarranted publicity.