American Airlines issues swift rebuke of Operation Underground Railroad’s bogus “partnership” claim with the airline

American Airlines issued a swift response to claims made by radical Q-Anon aligned Operation Underground Railroad and its founder, Tim Ballard, that the two had entered into a “partnership”. Within hours, Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad removed their posts, without justification or apology. Then, with the best excuse invented since “the dog ate my homework”, they blamed Clearwind Media.

In a video posted on Tim Ballard’s Facebook, Twitter account, and in an Instagram post and on OUR’s webpage, Ballard boasted that OUR entered into some type of partnership with American Airlines. ACJ immediately contacted American Airlines media relations and several executives for response. A short time later, the posts and all references to them disappeared.

On June 9, 2022, OUR posted on their Facebook page and website (even tagging American Airlines):

“For the month of June, O.U.R. has partnered with American Airlines to share our mission and spread information about human trafficking and exploitation. We are excited to announce that this video will play on all domestic American Airlines flights all month long and encourage viewers to join us in the fight against human trafficking. We are grateful for this collaboration with American Airlines and look forward to the awareness that will come from this campaign.” 

-Operation Underground Railroad, June 9, 2022

Then Ballard’s tweet from the night before:

June 9, 2022- Tim Ballard on Instagram:

Before the post was deleted, Tim Ballard and OUR fabricated a bogus “partnership” with American Airlines. The post received nearly 20,000 likes

June 8, 2022- Official Operation Underground Railroad Twitter:

OUR’s now deleted false claim that their video, featuring Tim Ballard, will play on all of American Airlines domestic flights in June

Victims of Ballard and OUR are begging for intervention; OUR’s IRS 501(c)(3) may be in jeopardy

Unfortunately, OUR’s spam scam campaign on June 8th & 9th was not the first time ACJ heard about this fabricated partnership with American Airlines. Two reliable sources, including one that attends Ballard’s LDS ward mentioned the partnerships between OUR and American Airlines. They wanted something to be done.

This is just a brief glimpse of the pain that Lynn Packer and I have witnessed over the years.

Young men and women have lost their families over OUR and Q-anon. It’s not that they’re dead, but disowned. Their families are sucked into this right-wing fantasy, obsessed with pedophilia and human trafficking. They believe in an alternate reality and world.

Others have watched their parents, grandmothers and grandfathers get seduced and paranoid sucked into the alt-right Mormon or Evangelist pipeline. In their dying days, they handed over every last dollar to Operation Underground Railroad to “save the children”.

Every year, OUR’s bank accounts, investments and assets grow. Right now, OUR uses just half of the donations they receive to “combat” human trafficking”. Legitimate non-profits should not have more than “three years of expenses” in their bank accounts. Virtually every single year, Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad grows their wealth.

Everyday people keep begging Lynn Packer and I, to please get the feds, Davis County or somebody to step in stop the scam.

It’s heartbreaking. But this is hope. Since Operation Underground Railroad is a 501(c)(3)-

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.

Operation Underground Railroad is not an anti-human trafficking organization, it is and always has been a scam. More recently it’s a tool, weapon and agent for the Republican National Commitee and The Utah Republican Party.


Swift Response

In a series of phone calls by my assistant and I to AA, we pressed for answers.

First, full disclosure.

It’s important to note, that OUR and their attorneys, no longer respond to inquiries made by Lynn Packer or ACJ. Instead, Tim Ballard resorts to code speak in videos and podcasts. As if he is answering “controversial” or “hard questions”. He still refuses to answer the “five simple questions” we had for him.

Don’t believe me? Just ask Tim Ballard if former OUR operative and rainmaker, Paul Hutchinson sexually assaulted two sex slaves that were purportedly being rescued during the filming of The Abolitionists?

We asked to speak to AA media relations, legal and everywhere we were sent, nobody knew anything about it. Nobody knew of Tim Ballard or an OUR. At the same time, none of these hard-working folks had the authority to answer our questions. One employee appeared competently aware of the organization and their situation (what they are about). She said she’d be disappointed if it “were true”.

In ACJ’s email to multiple American Airline executives and AA media relations, before we asked a single question, we made one thing clear:

To be fair, Tim Ballard has manufactured relationships and raised funds using these fabricated “relationships” and “partnerships”. 

Then I showed them the tweet by Tim Ballard himself. It was a one-minute video that was supposed play “on all domestic flights”.

Tim Ballard’s now deleted tweet, which he fabricated a “partnership” with American Airlines

Is it true? Has American Airlines partnered with and/or advertising for Operation Underground Railroad featuring Tim Ballard? 

[W]ere you aware that he is under criminal investigation by the Davis County District Attorney, most recently the FBI and also the Office of the Utah Attorney General?

We then laid out a beautiful brief summary (about five pages worth) of allegations, crimes, incidents and claims made by and against the organization over the years (everything we published here).

Except one thing.

Only recently, have we started to cover Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad’s pivot to the radical right.

We gave them posters and flyers, also videos links to various radical right-wing conventions, symposiums and rallies. While there’s a laundry list of radical alt-right figures, Ballard typically appears with David Barton and the disgraced Michael Flynn. He also frequently appears with Sheriff Mack, Lin Wood and Mike Lindell.

Such as WeCanAct’s- The Liberty Conference

The Liberty Conference

David Barton who is a partner and longtime friend of Tim Ballard, is on Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch. Now some may be confused as to why an Evangelist and Mormon would be partners in several religious ventures. That is another story that goes back a few years. Remember, both Ballard and Barton, are pseudo-historians, hellbent on perpetuating white people were in America, long ago. So, those things with Native Americans aren’t really atrocities or genocide. Actually, white people were the victims. But moving along.

A short time later, ACJ was notified that the videos, tweets, Instagram posts had disappeared.

ACJ received a phone call from a source who wishes to remain confidential, and then received an official response from Curtis Blessing- American Airlines Director of Global Communications & Public Affairs-

Thank you for reaching out to American. Content from Operation Underground Railroad is not available on American’s in-flight entertainment, and we do not have any partnership or affiliation with the organization.

Ballard’s bulldogs were already out in full force, and accused Lynn Packer (who had nothing to do with this at the time) and ACJ of “getting Tim canceled”

Also, to be completely fair, it was not clear if there was some type of relationship, then AA looked into it only after we reached out. Then canceled the deal only to get back to us to say there was no deal.

So, for clarification ACJ responded to Curtis Blessing:

There NEVER WAS a partnership or advertisement agreement between AA and OUR prior to this? For instance, you never had an agreement with OUR and Tim Ballard, like yesterday, then found out he is controversial and canceled him?

Blessing replied:

We never had a partnership with Operation Underground Railroad. Nothing was canceled.

One AA official who wishes to remain anonymous but wanted to get “ahead of the story… immediately”, as I indicated in my email, I wished to publish this by Friday. They also seemed baffled by the claim, then joked about it and as we spoke started looking into Tim Ballard’s connections.

The official said that it was “alarming.

They continued, “And if not corrected immediately if this not taken down, we will take swift legal action. This is not in line with AA’s values or mission”.

They also assured that I would get an “official response” shortly.

I already had it.

One thing is certain here, the response by American Airlines was not only “swift”, but consistent, reasonable and certain. There was no corporate speak and innuendo. There was no “padding” of answers or excuses.

There was no deal. They didn’t even know who, what or why Operation Underground Railroad and Tim Ballard is. In fact, there was not even a meeting, or sales pitch or negotiation between OUR and American Airlines. Before or after my inquiries and anyone else’s for that matter.

Believe me, I was already writing up the story- just waiting for American Airlines to respond. I asked tough questions. Presented them with all the evidence as to why I was asking them these questions.

There certainly was no confusion on American Airlines part. Which means, there shouldn’t be any confusion on OUR and Tim Ballard’s part.

It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.

When I originally sent the email, I also forwarded it to Tim Marchman and Anna Merlan over at Motherboard/Vice News (and others). Tim and Anna have done fantastic coverage of OUR and Tim Ballard in the past. Now, had this turned out to be true I think it’s safe to say, we’d agree this would be extremely foolish on AA’s part. More importantly, it would be troubling and “alarming” (as one put it). Even that said, part of me though, couldn’t help passing it along just for a laugh.

Yesterday, two people that Tim Ballard pal around with were implicated in the Jan. 6 Hearings.

In a response to Tim & Anna over at Motherboard, OUR stated:

-with the best excuse since “the dog ate my homework”-

“Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) entered a paid contractual arrangement with Clearwind Media,” OUR said in a statement, “where OUR understood the full-service advertising agency would place a 1-minute OUR video on its in-flight program on American Airlines during the entire month of May 2022. At no point did Clearwind Media inform OUR that their video did not air on the in-flight program on American Airlines and after learning this, OUR took down the video from online and social sites it controls.”

It’s always someone else’s fault or some “agenda” of the reporters.

Another oddity, this wasn’t May, it’s June. OUR just lies and can’t even get their dates straight. Tim Ballard and OUR were pushing this partnership June 9, 2022. It had just begun and even tagged American Airlines.

This in another clear, concise demonstration of how Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad has operated from Day 1. They donate a little money to a police department. Suddenly they’re claiming to be “educating, training, developing and are the head of strategy” with that department, when it comes to arresting so-called “human traffickers” (really, they are just pedophiles).

They turn dropping a dime into a Salvation Army bucket on Christmas Eve, into a full-blown merger between Operation Underground Railroad and The Salvation Army.

Same with Aftercare centers. As of 2021, OUR had not one real aftercare center. But they think if they drop off an orphan (not a trafficking victim) and donate $200 (actual situation), they can call that place an “OUR’s aftercare center”. This is why they have cryptic Non-Disclosure Agreements and contracts stating that if you accept this “gift”, we are allowed to publish and advertise to our fundraisers that this is “in partnership” or “collaboration with” Operation Underground Railroad.

ACJ has virtually the entire email exchange during the NetNanny stings. OUR would beg and whine for arrest sheets by Washington State Patrol’s MECTF unit so they could publish the arrests. Yet, MECTF didn’t even know who Tim Ballard was.

Let me be clear on one thing, Tim Ballard and OUR have done many horrible things. Tortures, scams, covering up sexual assaults, the list goes on. This is why family members, everyone close to Tim Ballard and OUR is gone.

It’s tactics like what happened with American Airlines. The primary strategy is obtaining donations and attempting to have an appearance of credibility and legitimacy in the mainstream. Yet, Ballard and his team completely embrace and cavort with anti-government white nationalists and Q anon.

Tim Ballard would donate a dollar to St. Jude’s Research Hospital at a McDonald’s, then go on Fox News look into the camera weepy eyed and exasperated. He’d actually claim, “our researchers, doctors and scientists are working hard to find a cure for cancer in children”.


Resources and Further Reading

Operation Underground Railroad Touts Non-Existent Partnership With American Airlines (vice.com)

David Barton | Southern Poverty Law Center (splcenter.org)


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