A former airline executive said the passenger who was forcibly removed from an overbooked United flight was being "immature" and acting "like a child."
Bethune defended the staff and appeared to blame the passenger for not dealing with the situation better.
Many people who caught the interview were outraged at Bethune's reaction.
"You don't want Gordon Bethune running your PR dept.," this person said.
Others suggested he was out of touch with the industry.
And some expressed anger at the CNBC hosts for not pushing back on Bethune's comments.
Watch the full interview on the CNBC website.
Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.
Contact Ishmael N. Daro at email@example.com.
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