September 26, 2011 at 7:36 pm EDT | by Phil Reese
‘L-Word’ star claims gay discrimination on Southwest Airlines

According to her Twitter page, L-Word star Leisha Hailey is tweeting about being “booted” from a Southwest Airlines flight for kissing her girlfriend.

Hailey was allegedly removed from a flight earlier today for kissing her girlfriend, claiming the flight attendant said Southwest is a “family” airline, insinuating such behavior is antithetical to being ‘family-friendly.’

Hailey took to her Twitter feed, @Leisha_Hailey, and accused the airline of discrimination.

A screen shot of Leisha Hailey's Twitter feed

A screen shot of Leisha Hailey's Twitter feed. (Captured by Washington Blade Sep. 26 4:40pm)

According to the Dallas Voice, Southwest has released a statement about the incident which occurred on a flight between El Paso to LAX.

“Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive,” the statement read in part. “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 expectation.”

The full statement can be found here.

A Southwest Airlines representative apparently tweeted back, apologizing for the incident, and asking she privately contact the company.

“We were escorted off the plane for getting upset about the issue,” one of Hailey’s tweets read, claiming Southwest Airlines “endorses homophobic employees.”

Earlier this year, a Southwest Airlines pilot was suspended after a stuck microphone button caught an anti-gay rant broadcast to several other planes and control towers.

“Eleven [expletive] over the top [expletive], [expletive] homosexuals and a granny,” 46-year-old Capt. James Fritzen Taylor was overheard saying on the air. “I thought I was in Chicago, which was party-land. … After that, it was just a continuous stream of gays and grannies and grandes.”

“I hate 100 percent of their [expletive],” the diatribe continued. “So, six months, I went to the bar three times. In six months, three times. … Once with the granny and the fag, and I wish I hadn’t gone.”

Both Southwest Airlines and Capt. Fritzen issued apologies after a recording of the offensive rant went public.

Neither Hailey nor Southwest have responded to requests for comment as of press time.


  • Legal Theory

    Southwest, if you are going to prohibit socially acceptable expression’s of affection between adults, then you are going to have to prohibit the presence of most children from your planes–children, after all, are usually the result of such expressions between adults.

    Further, by stating that your actions were not “gender” based, you are admitting that they were/are gender-based. Let’s go through the logic:

    A woman kissed another woman on your plane.
    You allege passengers complained about that and that its your job to ensure passenger comfort.
    You took no action during the flight to ensure the comfort of the alleged complaining passengers in regards to the issue that they allegedly complained about.
    Ergo, there was no comfort issue during the flight, or else you would have taken action during the flight, as you admit it is your responsibility to perform.
    Ergo, Ms. Hailey did not engage in any activity en flight that required that you take any action towards her.
    Hailey is a woman.
    The person she kissed is a woman.
    The kiss was not an addressable offense according to your own words and actions, leaving only one other fact to provide a basis for your negative action towards her: the gender of her and/or the gender of the person she kissed, or the gender of both of the women.
    Ergo, the action you took, Southwest, was clearly based on the women’s gender.

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