40-year-old Leisha Hailey of Showtime’s The L Word– a kind of female version of the gay dramedy Queer as Folk– was kicked off a Southwest flight for kissing her girlfriend.
Hailey took to Twitter to rail against the injustice, claiming the decision to remove the actress and her partner was discriminatory. She sent a series of tweets after the incident describing her version of events and demanding Southwest apologize:
I have been discriminated against by
@SouthwestAir. Flt. attendant said that it was a “family” airline and kissing was not ok… This is an outrage. I demand a public apology by @SouthwestAirand a refund. Hate is not a family value. I will never fly this airline.
We were escorted off the plane for getting upset about the issue.
@SouthwestAir endorses homophobic employees. No one made her accountable… Since when is showing affection towards someone you love illegal? I want to know what Southwest Airlines considers as “family”…I know plenty of wonderful same sex families I would like to introduce them to. Boycott @SouthwestAir if you are gay. They don’t like us.
And she claims:
Southwest is offering a different version of events, however, saying the situation “escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground” and releasing the following statement addressing Hailey’s claims:
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 expectations.
Somewhat awkwardly, Southwest is the official airline of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and the advocacy group is currently reviewing the incident.