'L Word's' Leisha Hailey Responds to Southwest Airlines: Our actions Weren't 'Excessive, Inappropriate or Vulgar'
L Word actress Leisha Hailey and her partner, Uh Huh Her band mate Camila Grey, responded to a Southwest Airlines statement saying their public display of affection on a recent flight, which resulted in the couple's removal from the airplane, was characterized by customers as “excessive.”
“We believe everyone has the right to live openly in this society as equals,” the couple says in a statement released Tuesday. “In no way were our actions on Southwest Airlines excessive, inappropriate or vulgar. 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,” the statement continues. “We were simply being affectionate like any normal couple.”
The airline’s statement also alleged that after the couple was approached about their behavior, “the conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight.” Hailey and Grey agree with Southwest on this portion of the statement.
“We were on the airplane less than five minutes when all was said and done,” the couple explain. “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.’ ”
The couple go on to say that their statement is not an apology and that they will follow through with a formal complaint with the airline.
“We ask this airline to teach their employees to not discriminate against any couple, ever, regardless of their own beliefs,” the statement continues. “We want to live in a society where if your loved one leans over to give you an innocent kiss on an airplane it's not labeled as 'excessive or not family oriented' by a corporation and its employees. We find it very disturbing that the same airline who lauds itself as being LGBT friendly has twisted an upsetting incident that happened into our behavior being 'too excessive.' "
Southwest Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for further comment beyond Monday’s statement. THR reached out to two of its noted LGBT partners, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). The NCLCC declined to comment on the situation. GLAAD tells THR that it will be issuing a statement shortly.
[Update 4:20 p.m. GLAAD released the following statement: “Just like all couples, Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey should be able to express affection in public,” said Herndon Graddick, GLAAD’s Senior Director of Programs. “The widespread outrage around Leisha’s report demonstrates that fair-minded Americans will no longer stand for discrimination of gay and lesbian couples. All corporations need to ensure that employee training programs include best practices for welcoming all customers and that those practices are enforced.”]