If there’s anything I’ve learned from my years in the industry, on this site and on social media, reacting to stories in the news and attempting to bring context in an effort to correct the reported details, you’re going to be accused of defending the wrong side of the story.
Let's face it, with regard to social media, the public when given a choice between the (less horrific) truth and something inluding shock and horror, will go for the horror every time. Even though the "truth" is far more believable. And, the news media eats it up. The thought of cameras in a lav will sell far more ads and generate far more clicks than the more believable truth.
This thread showed it in spades! Even though Barney Captain gave us a very plausible explanation .... most on here chose to believe otherwise. For the record, that "prank" has been around for at least a decade. I have even seen it with "cameras" purported to be in overhead bins, closets, galleys and even on the wing tip of the aircraft itself. It's not new.
But ... think about "pranks" themselves. Is it professional? My partner is a surgeon and hospital pranks are played on each other all the time. I can think of no more professional a group than a team of health care workers saving someone's life. My son is a fire-fighter ... same thing there. I hear it is the same with the legal profession, law enforcement ... even educators.
So what's the deal? Historically, "teams" work better, with better results when inclusion in that team is enforced. And among other ways, playing pranks on each other sets up the whole team spirit. I am not surprised therefore, that Southwest Airlines encouraged it in the past. Not only will that team of Pilots and Flight Attendants work better together, but as an added bonus, it brings out an image to the passengers of camaraderie and fun. That image has often been copied and is a part of the "Southwest Model" we have heard so much about. As I live close to BUF, I often fly Southwest and that mood of fun is still there. Not to mention that Southwest has an enviable safety record. Namely ... it works.
Sad though that today's "offended snowflakes" are bothered by it. But I have to wonder though. Looking at the reports of this incident I am curious of the reaction of the Flight Attendant on who the prank was played. Why her reaction was so forceful. One almost has to chuckle that if she went to her immediate superior crying that she was "pranked" .... the response may well have been "What, are you new here?" Today, that is not an appropriate HR response. But reading further, apparently she said to Southwest more than once that they don't want her to report this to the media as it would not look good. It almost sounded like a threat.
I remember though, 30 years ago, life circumstances allowed me to apply to Southwest as a pilot. I was currently flying 737s for Canadian Airlines, enjoying it, but we were teetering on bankruptcy. I was sent an information package that included a brochure with a picture of Herb Kelleher dressed as Elvis on the cover. Opening the brochure on page one was the notation .... "Yes, that is Herb Kelleher dressed up. Sometimes he comes to board meetings dressed as Ethel Merman! We try to discourage him but ... if that bothers you, you may not fit in at Southwest. (I couldn't sign up fast enough!).
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!