Report: Boeing Whistleblower ‘Made Powerful Enemies’ Before Alleged Suicide

Prakash Singh/Bloomberg

A former Boeing employee-turned-whistleblower involved in litigation against the company found dead last week had “made powerful enemies” during his career, a report Friday claims.

John Barnett died on March 9 at the age of 62 from what police described as a “self-inflicted wound. Prior to his death, he had “been giving evidence in a whistleblower lawsuit against the company,” as Breitbart News reported.

Barnett had retired from the company in 2017 for health reasons after working with Boeing for 32 years.

After parting ways, he embarked on a long-running legal action against the company.

File/Boeing workers are pictured outside a pedestrian gate as Boeing’s 737 factory teams hold the first day of a “Quality Stand Down” for the 737 program at Boeing’s factory in Renton, Washington on January 25, 2024. (JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

He accused it of denigrating his character and hampering his career because of the issues he pointed out – charges rejected by Boeing.

The New York Post reports Boeing workers warn the deceased former quality control engineer “made powerful enemies” before his allegedly took his own life.

One employee, who spoke to outlet on the condition of anonymity, said workers were skeptical about the cause of their former colleague’s death, which has been preliminarily labeled a suicide.

The source told the Post:

It actually gives me a pit in my stomach because of what he’s been saying, and he’s dead now. Maybe he killed himself.
I don’t know what to believe. We don’t really talk about it on the (assembly) line. We’re on camera from the minute we get on the property. They can hear us. So no one wants to talk about it at work.
A lot of people are skeptical, because he made some pretty powerful enemies.

Another Boeing employee who spoke to the Post said: “Nothing surprises me when it comes to Boeing. It’s a good job but you’ve got to stay in line. If you don’t, you won’t work there anymore.”

Boeing did not directly address the claims but told the newspaper in a statement: “We are saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Police have not indicated that Boeing is under investigation or suspected of any foul play.

Barnett’s death comes at a time when production standards at both Boeing and its key supplier Spirit Aerosystems are under intense scrutiny.

Last week, the FAA said a six-week audit of the company had found “multiple instances where the company allegedly failed to comply with manufacturing quality control requirements.”


  1. With any company quality control, management, employees, vendors, manufacturing, and much more can be minupulated and not for the good but for costs savings that goes into someone pocket that is far up the food chain. Perhaps all these mergers of this or that company are not for the good of any industry as those at the top lose touch with what is going on below them all in the interest of them getting fatter paychecks all the time. Then you have the political influences that occur that push the lines this way and that way. Amerca is losing the middle ground location of its citizens. We are streaming more and more to the ubber rich and management people who draw ungodly amounts of money out of a company and the opposite end of the stick were workers have to practically beg for a raise to keep with with inflation and expenses, are subject to unfair practices and/or materials to bring home a paycheck that gets them to the next paycheck today.


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