An explicit Broad City t-shirt resulted in a college student being booted off an airplane by a flight attendant.
Daniel Podolsky was trying to fly from Dallas to Chicago on Monday evening when the incident unfolded. The flight had to be diverted to St. Louis’ Lambert Airport in Missouri because of bad weather.
At this point, the 22-year-old Suffolk County native decided to get off the flight in order to use the bathroom. However, when he tried to return to the aircraft, he was confronted by a Southwest Airlines employee who took umbrage with Podolsky’s t-shirt.
The New York college student was wearing a t-shirt that had “Broad F****** City” in bold letters on the front. Podolsky had picked up the t-shirt at the hugely popular South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, which is where he was travelling back from. Broad City is a sitcom starring Illana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson that has received critical acclaim since it premiered on Comedy Central in January, 2014.
The Southwest gate agent was so offended by the garment that Podolsky was told to take it off before he got back onto the aeroplane. A video of the incident has now materialised and it shows that it soon began to escalate after the gate agent asked Podolsky to either remove his shirt, cover it, or turn it inside out.
However, Podolsky refuses each of these requests, stating that to do so would impinge his free speech.
The Southwest employee queries, “Is there anything you can do not to display the shirt because at this point we can’t allow you to go.” At this point, Podolsky declares, “I have freedom of speech… really it’s not bothering anyone.”
However, at this point, the Southwest agent insisted that it was against the airlines’ policy to allow Podolsky back onto the plane while he was wearing the t-shirt. “I know you do,” the employee shot back. “I can show you in our contract of carriage that you can’t wear any shirts that says offensive.”
Podolsky then tried to get other passengers involved in the debate by asking, “Can we take a poll?” But he was unable to get the poll he desired, because shortly after he was then escorted away from the terminal by airport police.
Shortly after being evicted from the building Podolsky got in contact with KTVI, via New York Post, where he expressed his outrage.
“There are more than a hundred people on the plane trying to get to Chicago. And the most important thing is my shirt? How does that work? Where’s the sense of priority?”
But Southwest Airlines have stood by the actions of their employees, and their spokesman told KTVI, “We rely on our employees and customers to use common sense and good judgement.”
Podolsky ultimately agreed to change his shirt and then boarded the 7:15 p.m. flight.
[Image via Slate]