United Airlines
United Airlines triggered a fierce social media backlash after a passenger was dragged off an overbooked flight Spencer Platt/Getty Images

United Airlines is in the news for all the wrong reasons, of late. After preventing two women from flying because they wore form-fitting leggings, the airline is now in hot water after multiple videos went viral showing security staff dragging a screaming passenger off a 9 April flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky.

The videos, which were taken by fellow passengers, show the man being dragged off the plane by a Chicago Aviation Department (CAD) officer. According to United Airlines, the flight was overbooked and security was called in after the man refused to disembark.

One passenger posted: "This man is a doctor and has to be at the hospital in the morning."

The security officer responsible for the aggressive behaviour has been placed on leave "pending a thorough review of the situation," the CAD said in a statement. "The incident on United Flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure, and the actions are obviously not condoned by the department," it said.

United's CEO Oscar Munoz described it as "an upsetting event". "I apologise for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened," he said, according to NBC.

The incident kicked up an internet storm with people slamming the airline for their barbaric treatment of the passenger. Hollywood was not far behind in doling out the shame with a number of celebrities expressing their anger.

Disturbing footage shows United Airlines passenger repeating 'just kill me' Doyle Davis via Storyful

"Hey @united - never flying on your airline again," Pearl Harbor actress Jaimee King posted on her Twitter account. "Know I'm not the only one. Your statement is abhorrently vague & without accountability."

Selma director Ava Marie DuVernay said it shamed the airlines and airport authorities. "This could be me or you next time. Shame on @United who broke customer trust + instigated this. Shame on the airport cops. Cowardly assault," she tweeted.

Check out some of the other celebrity responses to the attack: