Actress to Southwest Airlines: ‘This Is Not An Apology’
UPDATE (5:45 p.m.):
Actress Leisha Hailey and her girlfriend, musician Camila Grey, released a statement today denying that there was anything excessive about their in-flight kiss and announcing they will file a complaint with Southwest Airlines after being escorted off a flight Monday.
“We have always promoted tolerance, openness and equality both as a band and as individuals,” the statement reads, referring to the couple’s band Uh Huh Her. “We want to make it clear we were not making out or creating any kind of spectacle of ourselves, it was one, modest kiss. We are responsible adult women who walk through the world with dignity. We were simply being affectionate like any normal couple.”
Hailey and Grey said the entire incident lasted “less than 5 minutes” and they take “full responsibility for getting verbally upset with the flight attendant after being told it was a ‘family airline.’”
In the statement the couple also took issue with Southwest Airline’s self-proclaimed LGBT friendly policies.
“We find it very disturbing that the same airline who lauds itself as being LGBT friendly has twisted an upsetting incident that happened into our behavior being “too excessive.” The above is not an apology and we are in the process of filing a formal complaint with the airline.
“No matter how quietly homophobia is whispered, it doesn’t make it any less loud,” the statement reads. “You can’t whisper hate. We ask this airline to teach their employees to not discriminate against any couple, ever, regardless of their own beliefs.”
An actress that appeared on the Showtime series “The L Word” was escorted off of a Southwest Airlines flight after an argument with airline staff began when she kissed her girlfriend in the air.
Leisha Hailey is now calling for a boycott of the airline after she and her girlfriend were escorted off of a flight from Baltimore to St. Louis once it landed on Monday.
On its website, Southwest Airlines stated that Hailey was approached “based solely on behavior and not gender.” The airline said that passengers were characterizing the behavior as excessive.
“I have been discriminated against by @ SouthwestAir . Flt. attendant said that it was a ‘family’ airline and kissing was not ok,” Hailey tweeted on Monday, later adding: ”This is an outrage. I demand a public apology by @ SouthwestAir and a refund. Hate is not a family value. I will never fly this airline.”
The Associated Press reported that Southwest said the discussion with Hailey and her unidentified girlfriend “escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground.”
Southwest says they are the official airline of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
In an e-mail to the AP, senior director of programs at GLAAD Herndon Graddick said that “GLAAD contacted Southwest to call for additional actions beyond tonight’s statement that ensure all customers feel comfortable and welcomed while traveling.”
Later Monday Hailey said on Twitter that the altercation was recorded.
Hailey is not the first celebrity to report a problem while flying with the airline. Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong was removed from a flight for wearing his pants too low earlier this month, and last year filmmaker Kevin Smith was booted from Southwest a flight because he didn’t fit properly in a single seat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.