When this story first broke, I figured that the guy had it coming, but as the details came out, I changed my mind: the airline had deliberately overbooked (they do that all the time, because of no-shows, and there's nothing particularly wrong with that), but this passenger had already boarded when 4 United employees decided they needed to be on the flight. After offering to pay $800 for volunteers and receiving no takers, four passengers were randomly selected to be tossed off. This passenger refused to leave, and merry chaos ensued.
I've been in this situation myself on a flight from D.C.. Passengers offered a series of escalating payments until finally, the cash and offer of a free trip was enough to convince me to volunteer to wait for the next flight two hours later (of course, I'd overheard a pilot saying that our destination, Sikorsky airport, was fogged in and the flight I was supposed to be on was going to be cancelled. I got the money and the free ticket and had the pleasure of watching my would-be fellow passengers disembark an hour later - tee-hee. Plus, I got a seat on the next flight while many of them didn't, so tee-hee again).
But the point here is that, had United not made a single, drop-dead offer and been willing to raise the price instead, they'd have eventually uncovered four "volunteer deportees". What would that have cost them, $2,000 per? Whatever the final price, it would have been far less expensive than the pr's firm charge to try to unwind this disaster.
Of course, all this places the blame on the airline. The Lunatic Left (I see that a new mental illness, TDS, or Trump Derangement Syndrome has now been added to our lexicon), has a different view of the matter, and knows who's really at fault: