Leisha Hailey, who formerly starred in The L Word and is currently a member of Los Angeles indie pop duo Uh Huh Her, has issued a statement regarding being asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight.
Yesterday, the singer/actress wrote a series of Tweets about the incident. She said that she and her girlfriend, Uh Huh Her bandmate Camila Grey, had exchanged a “small peck on the lips” on a flight from El Paso to Los Angeles. They were then told by a flight attendant that Southwest Airlines was a “family airline” and that kissing was not okay. After confronting the attendant and asking why no other passengers had been singled out, she continued, they were escorted off the plane for getting upset.
Southwest Airlines is the official airline of GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination. On Uh Huh Her's official Twitter, which has around 40,000 followers, the group called for a boycott of the airline early Monday afternoon.
Soon thereafter, the airline issued a statement regarding the incident, contending that a member of its crew had “approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender” after receiving complaints from other passengers that Grey and Hailey's kissing was “excessive.”
The statement also explained that the conversation “escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground.”
This is the third time Southwest has come under fire for similar incidents. In early 2010, director Kevin Smith was thrown off, supposedly for being too fat, and earlier this month, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong was kicked off for an incident relating to his saggy pants.
Now, Hailey and Grey have issued the following statement regarding the incident:
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.