U.S. News


Family of Boeing whistleblower blames company for his death

The family of John Barnett, who raised alarms about the company, is blaming the aircraft giant for a "hostile work environment."
Plane flies over a building with a Boeing logo
Posted at 3:28 PM, Mar 13, 2024

The family of the Boeing whistleblower who was found dead is blaming the company for his death.

Sixty-two-year-old John Barnett of Louisiana died on March 9 of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Charleston County Coroner's Office told Scripps News. But his family says a "hostile work environment" is to blame for his death, according to The Daily Beast.

"He was deeply concerned about the safety of the aircraft and flying public, and had identified some serious defects that he felt were not adequately addressed," Barnett's family said in a statement to The Daily Beast. "He said that Boeing had a culture of concealment and was putting profits over safety."

Barnett, a former Boeing employee of 32 years, had been in South Carolina testifying against the aircraft giant when he was found dead in his truck.

Alarm bells sounded when he had failed to show up in court.

Barnett's attorneys told The Daily Beast in a statement that their client gave no "indication he would take his own life" in the lead-up to his death.

Attorneys Robert Turkewitz and Brian Knowles said in their joint statement that Barnett was in "very good spirits" and happy to complete a deposition in his case against Boeing. They said Barnett was "really looking forward to putting this phase of his life behind him and moving on."

The attorneys are calling on police in Charleston, South Carolina, to launch a more thorough investigation into Barnett's death, suggesting there may have been something else at play.

"John was a brave, honest man of the highest integrity," said their statement. "He cared dearly about his family, his friends, the Boeing company, his Boeing co-workers, and the pilots and people who flew on Boeing aircraft. We have rarely met someone with a more sincere and forthright character."

"We need more information about what happened to John. The Charleston police need to investigate this fully and accurately and tell the public what they find out. No detail can be left unturned," Turkewtiz and Knowles said.

Since retiring in 2017, Barnett had set out on a long-running legal journey against Boeing, as he raised concerns about the company's production standards.

When news broke of his death, Boeing spoke out in a statement to Scripps News, saying, "We are saddened by Mr. Barnett's passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends."

Boeing whistleblower found dead days after testifying against company
Boeing airplane on the tarmac

Boeing whistleblower found dead days after testifying against company

John Barnett, 62, had worked for Boeing for 32 years before retiring. He raised a number of concerns about the company's production standards.