Southwest Airline’s story seems to be changing by the day. In their original statement about ejecting L Word actress Leisha Hailey and her girlfriend from flight 2274, the airline claimed it was an excessive display of affection that prompted their removal.
However, in a statement released Tuesday the airline now claims that it was actually profane language that started the fracas. “Additional reports from our Employees and Customers onboard flight 2274 during a stop in El Paso on Sunday now confirm profane language was being used loudly by two passengers. At least one family who was offended by the loud profanity moved to another area of the cabin,” they say in their statement.
“Although we have reports of what Customers characterize as an excessive public display of affection, ultimately their aggressive reaction led to their removal from the aircraft. We do not tolerate discrimination against anyone for any reason. In this situation, their removal was directly and solely related to the escalated conversation that developed onboard the aircraft.
“Our tenets of inclusion and celebration of diversity among our customers and employees – Including those in the LGBT communities – anchor our culture of mutual respect and following the Golden Rule. The more than 100 million people who fly Southwest each year reflect the great diversity of our country and our Company – and ALL are valued and welcome. In fact, we’ve been recognized as a leader in diversity throughout our 40 years of service.”
Hailey and her girlfriend Camila Grey are not backing down from their claims of blatant homophobia. “We have always promoted tolerance, openness and equality both as a band and as individuals. We both come from loving homes where our parents not only love and accept us, but are also proud of who we are. We believe everyone has the right to live openly in this society as equals,” they said in a statement.
“In no way were our actions on Southwest Airlines excessive, inappropriate or vulgar. 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. We were on the airplane less than 5 minutes when all was said and done.
“We take full responsibility for getting verbally upset with the flight attendant after being told it was a ‘family airline.’ We were never told the reason the flight attendant approached us, we were only scolded that we ‘needed to be aware that Southwest Airlines was a family oriented airline.’ No matter how quietly homophobia is whispered, it doesn’t make it any less loud. 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. We want to live in a society where if your loved one leans over to give you an innocent kiss on an airplane it’s not labeled as ‘excessive or not family oriented’ by a corporation and it’s employees. 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.’”