Jodi Jacobson, Editor in Chief of RH Reality Check, which is (in their own words) an “online community and publication serving individuals and organizations committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights” wrote an article yesterday about a woman that was denied boarding because of the shirt that she was wearing.
The woman, identified as O in the piece, was traveling on American Airlines and making a connection in D.C. to another American Airlines flight.
She wore a T-shirt that was printed “If I wanted the government in my womb, I’d f*ck a senator (edited: it was actually spelled out).”
It must have gone unnoticed by staff when she boarded the first flight:
I was one of the first groups to board (did not pass by many folks). I was wearing my shawl just loosely around my neck
But at the end of the flight the Captain asked to speak with O
When I was leaving the plane the captain stepped off with me and told me I should not have been allowed to board the plane in DC and needed to change before boarding my next flight.
She didn’t know what to do. Her baggage was already through-checked and changing her shirt without spending money wasn’t possible, she called an attorney that advised her to cover it up with here shawl.
Upon boarding the now rescheduled flight with shawl covering my shirt, my ticket dinged invalid. I was pulled to the side while the gentleman entered some codes into the computer and then told, “it was all good.” I did finally arrive home to pick up my daughter an hour and a half later than scheduled.
American’s Condition of Carriage is pretty clear. Under “Acceptance of Passengers Section 6-f:
American may refuse to transport you, or may remove you from your flight at any point, for one or several reasons, including but not limited to the following:
Are clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offense to other passengers.
Ms Jacobson sees it differently:
“You can’t take that message that your body is your own anywhere. Because in the United States today…(t)hat is ‘offensive,’ ‘insulting’ and ‘not for public consumption’.”
At least according to American Airlines, which apparently has not heard the term freedom of expression
American Airlines owes a huge — and public– apology to O.
And she’s started an online petition at Change.org
American Airlines: Apologize for kicking O. off her flight for “offensive” pro-choice t-shirt.
I’m not indifferent to politics, though I’m not much of a partisan and I vote for candidates on both sides of aisle, and I generally avoid political discussions, but it seems to me:
That if O felt so strongly about the message on her T-shirt, then she should have called around to the various airlines asking if it would be okay for her to wear it on a flight.
And…American has a responsibility to all their customers and it’s not inconceivable that may passengers would have been offended by the T-shirt. They were enforcing the rules, which O had already accepted. I’m not surprised that she was denied boarding.
So I’m wondering what you think? Share you thoughts in the comment section and/or vote in the reader poll.