The firestorm surrounding 'L Word' actress Leisha Hailey's removal off of a Southwest Airlines flight after she was allegedly kissing her partner continues to rage.
Hailey and her girlfriend Camila Grey issued a statement through their electro-pop band, Uh Huh Her, in an effort to clarify Monday's incident. "In no way were our actions on Southwest Airlines excessive, inappropriate or vulgar," the statement said. "We want to make it clear we were not making out or creating any kind of spectacle of ourselves, it was one, modest kiss. We are responsible adult women who walk through the world with dignity."
For their part, Southwest Airlines fired back with their own statement, saying the couple -- who are preparing to launch a 21-city tour to promote breast cancer awareness -- were removed for using profane language rather than any public display of affection. "Additional reports from our Employees and Customers onboard flight 2274 during a stop in El Paso on Sunday now confirm profane language was being used loudly by two passengers," the statement read. "At least one family who was offended by the loud profanity moved to another area of the cabin. Although we have reports of what Customers characterize as an excessive public display of affection, ultimately their aggressive reaction led to their removal from the aircraft."
Before noting that they had offered "a full refund for an experience that fell short of the passengers' expectation," the statement continued, "We do not tolerate discrimination against anyone for any reason. In this situation, their removal was directly and solely related to the escalated conversation that developed onboard the aircraft."
The AP reports that Southwest's website says it is the official airline of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). But in her statement, Hailey refuted many of the airlines' claims:
"We take full responsibility for getting verbally upset with the flight attendant after being told it was a 'family airline.' We were never told the reason the flight attendant approached us, we were only scolded that we 'needed to be aware that Southwest Airlines was a family oriented airline.' No matter how quietly homophobia is whispered, it doesn’t make it any less loud."
The couple also wrote extensively about the incident on their band's Twitter page, and even called for a boycott of the airline at one point. "I want to say that we will always stand up to discrimination of any kind," one post read. "It should not be tolerated. This was so unfortunate! Nuff said."
It is not the airline's first brush with celebrity controversy. Over Labor Day weekend, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong claimed to have been removed from a Southwest flight for refusing to adjust pants that hung too low. After the incident, Armstrong tweeted, "Just got kicked off a southwest flight because my pants sagged too low! What the f**k? No joke!" Director Kevin Smith was also removed from a flight because the airline alleged he didn't fit properly into a single seat.
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