Suspected Suicide of Boeing Whistleblower Raises Concerns

(ReliableNews.org) – For several years, Boeing has been under scrutiny over safety concerns. A whistleblower who raised concerns about the company allegedly cutting corners at its 787 factory has now been found dead — and the theories about what might have happened are spreading like wildfire.

On March 9, employees at a Charleston hotel found John Barnett dead in his vehicle in the parking lot. The former Boeing employee was supposed to end the final meeting of a three-day deposition for a civil defamation suit against the company. He didn’t attend the meeting, and his attorneys couldn’t reach him on the phone, so they asked the hotel to check on him. That’s when employees found him.

Barnett worked at Boeing for approximately 35 years. He spent most of that time as a quality control manager in Everett, Washington. In 2010, the company sent him to its new plant in Charleston. That’s the factory that was producing the 787 Dreamliner. He worked there for seven years until his retirement in 2017.

The last few years at the company were stressful for Barnett. He repeatedly complained about quality issues with the airlines. After he retired, a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX and an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed, killing everyone on board both flights. Barnett became a whistleblower. He accused workers of putting faulty parts on planes to meet production deadlines, outlined problems with the Dreamliner, and said he’d told both the company and FAA. Afterward, Barnett accused the company of destroying his reputation in retaliation for him becoming a whistleblower.

Authorities said it appeared Barnett died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His legal team reportedly said there was “no indication” he would take his life, saying he’d been “in very good spirits” and ready to move on.

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Social media users also weren’t convinced. Many pointed out that it was strange he would have killed himself in the middle of his deposition against the company.

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The investigation into his death is ongoing.

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