She Kissed a Girl, Southwest Didn’t Like It – Media Picks Up Star’s Tweeted Complaint
Former star of the Showtime series “The L Word” Leisha Hailey, was kicked off a Southwest airplane Monday for kissing her girlfriend during the flight. The actress, who has nearly 19,000 Twitter followers, tweeted about the incident: “I have been discriminated against by @SouthwestAir. Flt. attendant said that it was a ‘family’ airline and kissing was not ok.”
She followed with another 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.” In a later tweet from @Leisha_Hailey, she also called for a boycott of Southwest.
Within hours the story reached popular media outlets, including Forbes.com, NYDailyNews.com and celebrity-watcher site TMZ. The story was also given prominent real estate on the ABCNews.com home page for much of Tuesday morning.
The airline responded with a statement. Here’s an excerpt: “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…we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling short of their expectations.”
By the way, Southwest is also the airline that infamously removed film director Kevin Smith from a flight after he didn’t fit into the seat. He also took his complaints to the Twitterverse, creating a social media PR mess for Southwest.
Do you have a plan in place to handle the negative tweets, posts, and blogs that hit mainstream media? Don’t wait until a crisis happens. To learn more about developing a social media crisis plan that protects your brand, contact the strategists at Social Strategy1.