Discrimination | Leisha Hailey | News

'L Word' Actress Leisha Hailey Says Southwest Kicked Her Off Plane for Kissing Girlfriend


Musician and L Word actress Leisha Hailey claimed in a series of angry tweets today that she was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for kissing her partner.

Hailey Wrote Hailey:

"I have been discriminated against by Southwest Air. Flt. attendant said that it was a 'family' airline and kissing was not ok...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....We were escorted off the plane for getting upset about the issue. @SouthwestAir endorses homophobic employees. No one made her accountable. Since when is showing affection towards someone you love illegal? I want to know what Southwest Airlines considers as 'family'."

Hailey also reported that she had recorded evidence of the incident.

UPDATE: Southwest released a statement on the incident, saying that Hailey's removal was due to customer complaints of excessive behavior, though they don't specify the behavior in the statement.

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.

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  1. Isn't this like the third time in a year or two that we've heard anti-gay stories about SouthWest? Wasn't this also the airline with the anti-gay pilot that went on the tyrade over the open mic?

    And didn't they kick Director Kevin Smith off the plane for being 'too fat'?

    And Billie Joe from Green Day because he had 'Saggy pants'?

    Maybe they should rename themselves to 'Supremacy Air'?

    Posted by: Scott V | Sep 26, 2011 5:27:02 PM

  2. Hmmmm....I thought Southwest to be gay affirming and friendly. Now I can understand this action if this was a tongue down the throat kiss. Even I find that offensive in public whether straight, gay, or undecided, but I somehow doubt this is the case. This actually makes me mad as hell. I told my husband just the other day that the thing I miss most about Ptown is being able to hold his hand or to just touch him in public. Living in south Texas there is no way we could do that here. Maybe THAT'S the problem. Southwest is based in Texas!

    Sad, sad, sad.

    Posted by: Jacob Z Flores | Sep 26, 2011 5:29:05 PM

  3. Unfortunately, obnoxious flight attendants can pull the "you're being unruly" card way too easily nowadays.

    Posted by: David R. | Sep 26, 2011 5:31:07 PM

  4. Oh, Southwest Airlines is going to be sorry for this.

    Posted by: justme | Sep 26, 2011 5:34:12 PM

  5. Customer Care line at SWA: 214-932-0333.

    Posted by: Mike | Sep 26, 2011 5:40:23 PM

  6. I'm really tired of this "family" BS. Kids get it. You just tell them that sometimes two men or two women love each other. They get that. No need to explain sex or anything else. It's only when they get older and absorb more of society's prejudices that they get screwed up and start acting weird.

    Posted by: Steve | Sep 26, 2011 5:42:19 PM

  7. We've taken SouthWest Airlines off our list of acceptable carriers. My husband is an architect, has his own firm, and alerted me to this news. From now on his staff will NOT book a flight on SW (or if they do they pay for it themselves). Geez, sometimes I think I'm the luckiest husband in the world because we live in SF. When we first married my husband would shy from holding my hand, placing an arm around my waist or kissing me in public. Today it is so natural we don't think twice. It should be that way EVERY where, in EVERY city. BOYCOTT SouthWEST!

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Sep 26, 2011 5:51:47 PM

  8. before we jump to conclusions we need to see the evidence first.

    so whenever you are ready, leisha...

    Posted by: Jose Soto | Sep 26, 2011 5:54:31 PM

  9. I fly Southwest all the time, and have never had a bad experience with anyone at the airline. But I do think context matters here. Was this an innocent kiss or passionate sucking face for 5 minutes straight? I would feel somewhat uncomfortable sitting next to two people who were engaged in heavy petting in the adjacent seat -- whether they're straight or gay. Did Leisha record evidence of her behavior as well? That's what I'd like to see. In any event, I'll continue to fly Southwest.

    Posted by: Will | Sep 26, 2011 6:04:48 PM

  10. So their fellow passengers were homophobic and complained, so SWA threw the lesbians off the plane? How is that in any way better, Southwest?

    I'm not inclined to believe SW at all given their track record. If she was in California or NY when it happened, perhaps she has a few legal recourses she can take for illegal discrimination.

    Posted by: Miche Rutledge | Sep 26, 2011 6:06:44 PM

  11. This entire situation starts and ends at whatever supposed "excessive" behavior Leisha and her partner were expressing. Since she has audio we'll hear exactly how things went down and find out for ourselves. The reality is that, if this were a man and woman, the chances anyone would complain and the situation would escalate to this level is very reduced and that's where I have an issue. These two women were very likely targeted for being 2 women, regardless of whatever so-called excessive behavior they engaged in.

    And, also Steve, 100% right, the whole "family" line is an insult. It's directly saying gay/lesbian people are anti-family and ruin the innocence of children, it's basically labeling us lepers who shouldn't exist in "normal" society. That term alone indicates homophobia. Time for action against this company and let them know their homophobic actions won't be swept under the rug.

    Posted by: Francis | Sep 26, 2011 6:10:04 PM

  12. It's hard to say what happened - like other commenters said, was it just a kiss, or a full on make out session?

    It is coming from a airline with a history of discrimination of all kinds, so at least we know it's not JUST homophobic.

    It's SouthWorst Airlines!

    Posted by: newcityspot | Sep 26, 2011 6:17:55 PM

  13. to @southwest.....aren't there are cameras in the cabins....release the video

    Posted by: mikenola | Sep 26, 2011 6:22:28 PM

  14. "Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive."

    That means absolutely nothing. If it's true (and that's a stretch), were the "several" passengers all part of the same group? Or were they strangers all flying to or from someplace known for its bigotry? Even if there were really any actual, let alone "several", complaints, some idiots would consider any affection at all between two women to be "excessive". This is utterly meaningless blather.

    And exactly how horrible a sight would it be to see Leisha Hailey kissing her most-likely pretty hot girlfriend? Seriously, people. Unless nudity was involved, I'm not buying the idea that they did anything wrong.

    Posted by: justme | Sep 26, 2011 6:26:17 PM

  15. It's 2011 folks and it's way past the time for most of these companies to start doing some serious "sensitivity training" or whatever they want to call it to educate their employees(especially those working with/for the public)that the words coming out of their mouths will have consequences.

    Posted by: SFShawn | Sep 26, 2011 6:27:34 PM

  16. The L Word is not a gay-friendly show. It's basically a sop to the sleazy straight guy fantasy for girl-girl action. It appeals to men who hate gay guys.

    As for the actress's claim, if she was discriminated against for basic kissing, she has a point. However, if her behavior was above and beyond what you see in heterosexuals, she doesn't have a point.

    I don't want people smooching excessively in public places regardless of the gender combination.

    Posted by: jason | Sep 26, 2011 6:28:05 PM

  17. Never heard of this airline....is it one of those 'cattle call' types?

    Posted by: CheezyPuffs | Sep 26, 2011 6:31:33 PM

  18. Im so over people using the "execessive kissing" excuse and I'm so over apologist using the "oh, I would feel uncomfortable even if it were a straight couple." I'm usually a pretty level headed person who prefers to get all the facts before hand but I do not put it past Southwest to pull this kind of crap. I don't usually fly Southwest because, quite frankly, they don't seem to really care about their customrs, but now I will make a point to not even consider them.

    Posted by: Vito | Sep 26, 2011 6:42:22 PM

  19. Give me a break. The entire cabin crew of Southwest Airlines is GAY or gay friendly.

    Posted by: nodnarb | Sep 26, 2011 7:01:39 PM

  20. Gee, I wonder what they would have done with the straight Brazillian couple almost necking and stroking each other's legs (hers were laying over his, almost over mine) for TWO HOURS on the home from LA last night. I was pissed even then that, cute (hot) as it was, I would have probably had trouble if it was me and a boyfriend/fiance/husband. But then again we were headed back to Seattle so probably not.

    Posted by: greg | Sep 26, 2011 7:02:39 PM

  21. I've boycotted them for years. Awful company

    Posted by: JEFFUWS | Sep 26, 2011 7:10:49 PM

  22. Once again. great that some gay commenters take the side of the airline, presuming they MUST be in the right, the kiss was PROBABLY excessive, "oh, I can see if it was tongue-kissing" (as if tongue-kissing straights would be ejected from anywhere). Uncle Marys.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Sep 26, 2011 7:18:58 PM

  23. ummm the flight hadn't even take off yet, so how amorous could they have gotten while boarding the plane?? Putting stuff in overhead/sitting in seat/buckling up..turn to partner, say some endearing phrase..and a quick kiss. OMG..they're heathens! The homophobes should have been kicked off not them. Southwest needs to define 'family'...for the bigot flight attendant to tell them 'this is a family airline'..is BS. I think the whole flight crew should be suspended for a few days, and sent to training...including the pilots since they have to authorize removal of passengers. And Southwest's response that 'it was a matter better handled on the ground than in the air' just endorses the flight crews bigotry and hate.

    Posted by: Roy | Sep 26, 2011 7:25:06 PM

  24. I work for Southwest and this goes on EVERY DAY! We are a total homophobic bigoted company! This is the norm not the exception. I was told just last week from a coworker that it was "inappropriate" for me to talk or mention anything personal about my life...aka my Parter of 19 years!!!!

    PLEASE do not let my company just sweep it under the rug AGAIN! SWA states they are a non-discriminatory company, however EVERYDAY we GLBT employees have to put up with it! NO MORE!

    Posted by: Scott | Sep 26, 2011 7:26:04 PM

  25. A typical non-apology apology.

    "I'm sorry for the fact that in your opinion, you feel you were offended."

    The more rights and the more mainsteam "gay" becomes, the more harsh ignorant people's reaction will be.

    Posted by: Kevin | Sep 26, 2011 7:30:07 PM

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