Waymon Hudson

Southwest Pilot Apologizes for Anti-Gay Rant... Sort of

Filed By Waymon Hudson | June 30, 2011 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: LGBT, pilot, planes, Southwest

James Fritzen Taylor, the Southwest Airlines pilot who made news for the homophobic cockpit screed that was caught on tape, has issued an general mea culpa for his 'offensive' and 'derogatory' remarks. Well, to be clear, he is sorry for being 'insensitive' and wants to move past things. His blanket apology, however, didn't specifically mention the Chicago-based crew who was the focus of his rage, but is a general statement to all employees:

To All Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants and all Employees:

101722-southwest-airlines.jpgBecause of the impact of my comments, I wanted to communicate with you directly. Please accept my most sincere apology for the inappropriate and disrespectful remarks I made in March with an open microphone. I deeply regret the derogatory remarks I made and the hurt I have caused - I take full responsibility for those comments. It was truly insensitive of me and I would like all of you to know that from now on, I will show nothing but the utmost respect during my interactions with all employees. In addition, I would like to extend a special apology to all Flight Attendants, and especially those of Houston. I hope you will allow me to maintain a working relationship with all of you that will provide me the opportunity to extend an individual, personal apology to each one of you whenever we fly together. Please know that this event has forever changed me and I hope that others can learn from my mistake. I have learned a much-needed lesson to be more sensitive of others and I hope you will see me as a more tolerant and considerate person. I am proud to be employed by Southwest Airlines and I am committed to representing our Company, and its employees in the most professional way possible."

A Southwest spokeswoman said the pilot was punished with a suspension and she wasn't aware of the airline considering any additional reprimand. In addition, the Southwest flight attendants' union dropped plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after Taylor apologized.

Let's not forget, Taylor didn't just say a few offensive, offhand things. He called the flight attendants a "continuous stream of gays and grannies and grandes" and "eleven f***ing over-the-top, f***ing a**-f***ing homosexuals."

I always hate 'apologies' that talk about the 'impact' of comments, not the action itself. So if no one had caught him and it hadn't made news, he wouldn't be sorry? Those type of 'oops I got caught' apologies always ring false to me, for obvious reasons.

I also think that a suspension simply wasn't enough for this pilot. There need to be real consequences for his actions not just as a personal punishment, but as also a statement about what is not acceptable at Southwest Airlines. This type of behavior creates an obviously hostile work environment for both the employees and for customers. As a former flight attendant, I can tell you that the last thing you want to deal with on top of angry passengers, delays, and medical emergencies is a homophobic pilot who has no problem insulting, belittling, and degrading his coworkers who are in charge of the safety of hundreds of passengers. The danger that the hostility in those comments represents is very real. They create a wall against the needed teamwork to properly communicate safety concerns that effect everyone on board the plane.

And let's be realistic, if his comments had targeted any other group besides gays, he most likely would have been tossed out faster than you can say "fasten your seatbelt." As someone who has some experience with anti-gay comments in airports, it seems that homophobia just doesn't rise to the same level in the eyes of many in the airline industry, despite the larger number of LGBT people in the business.

I do hope Taylor learned a lesson. I also hope that his 'learning' isn't over and that his coworkers, employers, and those in his life continue to push him to see it wasn't just the public 'impact' of his comments, but his actions themselves that need to be addressed.

Come fly the friendly skies, indeed...

A quick reminder on the pilot's rant:


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Om Kalthoum | July 1, 2011 12:08 AM

Remember the old silent treatment? I think every employee whose path crosses that of this pig should forever more deliver up a massive dose of the silent treatment, except for whatever bare minimum of interaction is required due to his position as Captain.

He thought he wasn't getting enough action before? Anyone who breaks ranks and even goes out for a meal or drinks with him on a layover should be fined, say $20, in a kangaroo court. Return a "hello" from him in the hallway when not on duty? Automatic $10 fine into the kitty. All proceeds to go to a gay or feminist organization. I say, make his life a living hell, at least when not on duty.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 1, 2011 1:20 AM

They only apologize when they're caught. Can you imagine how much of this goes on in the halls of Congress and at the DNC or RNC?

I love how he said he would be 'more tolerant'. Tolerant to me means geee i really don't like this but I'll bite my tongue and deal with it.....

I'd rather someone learn to be accepting, than tolerating, but regardles to me the entire appology sounds forced, and probably some condition of his hoping to keep his job.

These mealy-mouthed apologies are worthless.

This just sounds like a way to attempt to save face - but it's nearly four months too late, and the tirade never should have happened in the first place.

Pieces of shit like him and Tracy Morgan do not suddenly change their true nature, just as we gay people don't. As usual, he's only contrite because he got caught and I'm sure there's pressure from above that caused his sorry apology. He should have been fired!