The L Word star Leisha Hailey has called for a boycott of Southwest airlines after the actress and her girlfriend were kicked off a flight Tuesday in what Hailey insists was an act of discrimination.
Hailey and her girlfriend reportedly had a confrontation with airline staff after some passengers complained about the affectionate behavior between the two women, who were apparently kissing.
The couple was then escorted off the plane.
In one of several tweets about the incident, Hailey wrote that a flight attendant said that it was a 'family' airline and kissing was not OK.
Hailey, 40, who started her career as a musician, is most well known for her role as bisexual writer, Alice, on the hit Showtime drama, which followed the lives of a group of lesbian friends living in Los Angeles. Alice was one of the most popular characters on the show.
The actress is trending who is#boycottsouthwest and #discrimination. She is calling for all gays and lesbians to boycott the airline, tweeting Boycott @SouthwestAir if you are gay. They don't like us.
Hailey posted a series of tweets immediately after the incident.
I have been discriminated against by @SouthwestAir. Flt. attendant said that it was a 'family' airline and kissing was not ok, read the first tweet.
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, she wrote right after that.
Since when is showing affection towards someone you love illegal? I want to know what Southwest Airlines considers as family, she continued.
Southwest later issued a statement that included a vague apology, but largely defended the airline's actions.
The statement, which Southwest broadcast via a Twitter link, reads:
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 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 expectations.
Hailey has not yet responded to the statement via Twitter. She did mention in one tweet on Monday that a lot of Southwest airline employees' actions were recorded on audio and video, but did not elaborate on what she might do with said recordings.
The ejection is sort of an example of art imitating life: In later seasons of The L Word, Hailey's character Alice was involved with a woman who was in the military, and who was forced to leave after the lesbian relationship was discovered.
Southwest advertises itself as a gay-friendly airline, as one of Hailey's Twitter followers pointed out.