The L Word actress and member of electro pop band Uh Huh Her Leisha Hailey says she was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for kissing her girlfriend. She announced the incident in a series of tweets yesterday, which sparked an Internet outcry. Hailey wrote that she and her longtime girlfriend, fashion designer Nina Garduno "were escorted off the plane for getting upset about the issue."
"I have been discriminated against by @SouthwestAir," she said on Twitter. "Flt. attendant said that it was a 'family' airline and kissing was not ok."
Southwest Airline hasn't publicly responded to the incident, but other actors have:
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One Tree Hill actress Sophia Bush tweeted, "Dear @SouthwestAir you seriously told @Leisha_Hailey that she could not kiss her GF on the plane & escorted them off? I see straight couples kissing on planes all the time. Is discrimination a standard part of your policy? How sad, ignorant, and disgusting. #LostCustomer #NOH8."
Comedian Sandra Bernhard tweeted, "this is a hoot @leisha_hailey @uhhuhhermusic Southwest Airlines The LUV Airline! the 'luv' airline. what kind of 'luv' are ya talkin bout?"
Today, Uh Huh Her issued a statement about the incident; we've reprinted it in full after the jump.
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.