Garuda drops defamation charges, vlogger gets first class ticket instead

Garuda Indonesia’s employee union, Sekarga, has dropped the controversial defamation report against Rius Vernandes, an Indonesian vlogger.

Rius was previously reported to the police for defamation.

This was after he posted a viral photo of a handwritten menu allegedly distributed on a recent Garuda Indonesia business class flight from Sydney to Bali on July 13.

In a press conference attended by Rius and representatives from Sekarga on July 19, the two parties signed a peace agreement that was also witnessed by Garuda Indonesia’s chief executive officer, Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra, who is also known as Ari Askhara.

According to Tempo, Ari Askhara also gifted the vlogger a first-class ticket on the airline as a way of extending an olive branch.

The only condition is that the CEO expects Rius to be brutally honest with his review.

This new collaboration has been verified on Rius’s Instagram account, which showed a picture of his meeting with the airline executives.

It said: The police report has been withdrawn. Thanks to everyone who have voiced your support in this matter. This is all thanks to you guys. Wait for my review of Garuda’s first class, as promised by the airline.

This U-turn in approach will help stem criticism of Garuda by the public, who felt that it was too heavy-handed in its approach.

Right after the incident initially, Garuda had published an internal memo prohibiting all forms of photography and videography by passengers and cabin crew.

This move was later dropped.

Garuda CEO Ari Askhara said: “We ask Rius to review each element in the aviation, not just the business class, but also the first-class and economy. I will give Rius a free first-class ticket but I will only accept negative reviews from him, not the good bits that we all know.”


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