Gay kissers led off plane for making a scene
posted at 11:18 am on September 27, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
Full disclosure: I am not familiar with the work of actress Leisha Hailey. In fact, I never heard of her before today.
That would probably still be the case if she and her better (other?) half hadn’t made headlines for “kissing and telling” on a commercial airliner mid-flight.
Actually a word about those headlines is in order. The banner at The Hollywood Reporter, which is typical, reads “’L Word’ Actress Leisha Hailey Tweets She Was Kicked Off Southwest Airlines Flight After Kissing Girlfriend.” That gives you the basic outlines of the story, but the ostensible chronology and cause and effect are wrong. The women were taken off the plane after it landed. And it was not because they had been kissing.
As best as I reconstruct (the details vary depending on the source), Hailey and her girlfriend, Camila Grey, were exchanging saliva during a flight from Baltimore to St. Louis. Nearby passengers complained that the women’s expression of affection was “excessive,” which in turn prompted a flight attendant to tell them their behavior was inappropriate. Hailey concluded she and Grey were the targets of discrimination.
Apparently, words between the actress and airline personnel grew heated. Once the plane landed Hailey and Grey were led off the plane—in Hailey’s own words—“for getting upset about the issue.”
Upon deplaning, Hailey went to work compiling a complete dossier of the incident on her Twitter page via a half dozen outraged tweets, beginning with:
I have been discriminated against by @SouthwestAir. Flt. attendant said that it was a ‘family’ airline and kissing was not ok.
An employee at Southwest followed, tweeting: “I’m so sorry! Can you please follow/DM [direct message] me more details so we can get to the bottom of this? Thanks!”
The airline later tweeted the following statement:
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.
Were the passengers who objected “homophobes” who overreacted to a simple peck between two women? It’s possible. It’s equally possible that Hailey and Grey were making a public display of their “equal rights” by vying in front of a planeload of hapless passengers for membership in the Mile High Club.
All I know is if what happened to these two women once the plane touched down—viz., getting to exit before all the other passengers— qualifies as being “kicked off,” I urge the airlines to kick me off the next I fly. I promise not to accuse them of heterophobia if they do.
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