I never dreamed my academic research might one day be summed up in an internet meme, but this week, the findings of one of my research studies were echoed and splashed across social media both in China and around the world. These unofficial airline memes were among the hundreds created by netizens that flooded social media this week in the wake of a shocking video that showed a passenger being beaten then dragged off a United Airlines (UAL) flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky after he refused to yield his seat to an airline employee. The incident occurred after the airline told passengers the flight was overbooked, and asked four to give up their seats so that United staff could take the flight instead. When no one volunteered staff chose four passengers at random for “re-accomodation”; one refused to comply. The company was excoriated on social media around the world for what happened next, and outrage grew after a series of ineffectual statements by company CEO Oscar Munoz. A day after the initial social media storm, United’s market capitalization dropped by $255 million as investors dumped its stock.