In a torrent of angry tweets, L Word star and Uh Huh Her frontwoman Leisha Hailey reported that she and her girlfriend/bandmate Camila Grey were kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight from Baltimore to St. Louis last month, allegedly for “excessive” kissing. “Since when is showing affection to someone you love illegal?” she tweeted after the flight landed. She indicated that she and Grey were reprimanded for sharing a mid-air kiss, and that Southwest staff insisted it was a “family” airline. The couple is in the process of lodging a formal complaint of discrimination against the company.
Southwest later issued a terse statement alluding to the incident, without naming any names. “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 statement read. “The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground.”
Because all lesbian celebrities must weigh in on their peers’ controversial activities, Melissa Etheridge opined to CNN that “I’m not one for big public displays of affection, anyway. Straight, gay, whatever.” She did admit, however, that she has also leaned over and snogged her partner while up in the air.
The Associated Press reported that the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) had contacted Southwest to “call for additional actions beyond tonight’s statement that ensure all customers feel comfortable and welcomed while traveling.” No word yet on what those actions might be.
Southwest Airlines received a score of 95 out of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index in 2010. The company requires all employees to attend sexual orientation and gender identity sensitivity training, and actively markets its discount flights to LGBT consumers.