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Bil Browning

Southwest Boots L Word Actress Off Plane

Filed By Bil Browning | September 27, 2011 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Living
Tags: L Word, Leisha Hailey, lesbians kissing, non-apology, Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines kicked L Word actress Leisha Hailey and her girlfriend off a flight to Los Angeles after the two kissed. A flight attendant told them that Southwest is "a family airline" and then ejected them from the plane after l-word-hailey50.jpgthey argued that homophobia was spurring the incident.

Hailey took to Twitter, tweeting "Discriminated against by @SouthwestAir. Flt attendant said that it was a "family" airline and kissing was not ok." Southwest quickly replied via the social media site, asking her to direct message them the details.

Shortly after, the airline posted a non-apology apology on their website about this incident:

Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive. Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all Customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender. The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight. We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling short of their expectation.

This follows on the heels of a Southwest pilot making anti-gay and misogynistic remarks over an open mic. Of course, Next Media Animation has made on of those Taiwanese cartoons about the incident. Watch it after the jump.

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If a heterosexual couple had done what this couple had done, would Southwest have booted them off one of their flights?

This missive just sent to Southwest Airlines:

I'm writing in support of your passenger (and customer), Ms. Leisha Hailey who (with her girlfriend) was kicked off a Southwest flight in Los Angeles because you seem to be greatly offended by gay and lesbian passengers - as if the money they each paid for passage was somehow offensive to you as well. I have been over the years a frequent flyer (both on business and pleasure) on SWA and I need to ask, as a lesbian, just who do you think you are? Do I need to spend my air travel dollars elsewhere from here on out? Should I expect to be likewise discriminated against the next time I fly with my partner? Apparently you people seem to think you are a "family airline." I've got news for you, SWA is a common carrier in an air travel market full of 'em. I also am a gay woman who spends her travel dollars where I see fit. So unless you'd like me to spend them elsewhere I'll need to hear from you real quick that this kind of discrimination and bigotry is going to be repudiated by the management of Southwest Airlines immediately. I suggest in the strongest possible terms that you implement some immediate additional training for your aircrews and announce publicly that this kind of bigotry by your employees will simply NOT be tolerated. I insist on an answer from your management as to the corrective actions you will take and the time frame in which you intend to take them.


We are treated as individuals and as a community in the way that we each allow ourselves to be treated. That which you accept in your presence - those are your values. You want respect? Then you'd damned well demand it!

Sorry, I'm not getting excited by this one.
Updated Southwest Airlines statement
http://swamedia.com/releases/9b8360a2-d68a-4012-b511-0a9579b24b7d

Unfortunately, airline travel may be the most oppressive, rule filed place in America.

In this day and age where everyone is a potential videographer with their handy dandy cell phones, I'll wait for the inevitable upload to YouTube of either Southwest's bad behavior or the couple's bad behavior before I form a final opinion.

It's sounding more and more like a flight attendant reacted poorly and improperly to seeing two women showing affection, but then one or both of the women went over the top verbally in their response to that injustice. A little bit of this; a little bit of that.

In situations like this, customer/citizen complaints are a standard lie invented by the organization (police department, airline, etc.) to justify its discriminatory anti-LGBT actions. I'd really like to know if there actually were any complaints from other passengers.