LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A lesbian actress who starred in the Showtime cable show “The L Word” says she was escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight for kissing a woman, after the flight attendant deemed their public display of affection “excessive.”
Leisha Hailey took to Twitter to call for a boycott of the carrier after a she was told that other passengers had complained after witnessing the affection.
Hailey has tweeted several messages since Monday’s incident:
Did I mention to @SouthwestAir that I have a lot of their actions recorded on audio and video? RT #boycottSouthwest #discrimination
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.
Since when is showing affection towards someone you love illegal? I want to know what Southwest Airlines considers as “family”.
We were escorted off the plane for getting upset about the issue. @SouthwestAir endorses homophobic employees. No one made her accountable.
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.
Southwest Airlines released 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 actress and her partner, Camila Grey, denied in a statement released Tuesday that the affection they showed toward each other was inappropriate.
The incident has resulted in a national media spotlight for the actress, who now is a part of the electro-pop duo Uh Huh Her.
The band released the following statement Tuesday:
“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. 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.” The above is not an apology and we are in the process of filing a formal complaint with the airline. We hope that when all is said and done a greater tolerance without prejudice will evolve.”
Hailey and Gray said they plan to file a formal complaint with the airline.