Kevin Smith boarded a Southwest Airlines flight last night from Oakland to Burbank. After his bag was up and he was seated (with the arm rests down), he was deemed a “safety risk” and thrown off the flight. While he did end up on another Southwest flight, he turned to Twitter to express his (reasonable and totally justified, in my opinion) anger.
The Kevin Smith vs. Southwest Airlines fire storm began with one Tweet from @ThatKevinSmith:
“Dear @SouthwestAir – I know I’m fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?”
And that was just the beginning. He went on to Tweet, “Dear @SouthwestAir, I flew out in one seat, but right after issuing me a standby ticket, Oakland Southwest attendant Suzanne (wouldn’t give last name) told me Captain Leysath deemed me a “safety risk”. Again: I’m way fat… But I’m not THERE just yet. But if I am, why wait til my bag is up, and I’m seated WITH ARM RESTS DOWN. In front of a packed plane with a bunch of folks who’d already I.d.ed me as “Silent Bob.””
But that wasn’t all Southwest Airlines would hear from
Silent Bob Kevin Smith. He got really, really pissed off and went on to tweet, “So, @SouthwestAir, go fuck yourself. I broke no regulation, offered no “safety risk” (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?). I was wrongly ejected from the flight (even Suzanne eventually agreed). And fuck your apologetic $100 voucher, @SouthwestAir. Thank God I don’t embarrass easily (bless you, JERSEY GIRL training). But I don’t sulk off either: so everyday, some new fuck-you Tweets for @SouthwestAir. Wanna tell me I’m too wide for the sky? Totally cool. But fair warning, folks: IF YOU LOOK LIKE ME, YOU MAY BE EJECTED FROM @SOUTHWESTAIR.”
Even though he was deemed a “safety risk,” he did end up boarding another flight with Southwest Airlines, completely disproving that whole “you’re a safety risk” sentiment, Kevin Smith still didn’t stop tweeting about his horrendous experience with Southwest Airlines and even took a picture of himself sitting on his later flight.
“Hey @SouthwestAir! Look how fat I am on your plane! Quick! Throw me off! http://twitpic.com/1340gw”
“The @SouthwestAir Diet. How it works: you’re publicly shamed into a slimmer figure. Crying the weight right off has never been easier!”
“Hey @SouthwestAir! I’ve landed in Burbank. Don’t worry: wall of the plane was opened & I was airlifted out while Richard Simmons supervised.”
Southwest Airlines did eventually start tweeting back to Kevin Smith apologizing and wanting to make it up to him in some way:
“@ThatKevinSmith hey Kevin! I’m so sorry for your experience tonight! Hopefully we can make things right, please follow so we may DM!”
And here is where my love for Kevin Smith goes much, much, much deeper. In fact, my heart could just about explode from Smith’s next tweet:
“Hey @SouthwestAir? Fuck making it right for me just ’cause I have a platform. I sat next to a big girl who was chastised for not buying an extra ticket because “all passengers deserve their space.” Fucking flight wasn’t even full! Fuck your size-ist policy. Rude…”
Regardless of the jokes Kevin Smith made in the bulk of his tweets, such as saying the plane was opened and he was airlifted out while Richard Simmons supervised, the real core issue here is a size-ist policy that is enforced not just by Southwest Airlines, but by all airlines. There is also a little thing we like to call fat phobia that exists and is the product of an increasing amount of ignorance, not just by corporations and businesses, but by the people behind them and the people who use them.
Just because a person is big, fat, plus size or any other words commonly used to describe people who do not fit within the body image standards set forth by media and advertising companies directed at all people–women, girls and men alike, does not mean that it is okay to treat them any differently than you would treat someone who does, in fact, mirror corporate beauty. What we saw go down through Twitter between Kevin Smith and Southwest Airlines was not a safety risk in the least and it was not a policy being enforced due to him compromising the comfort, safety or well-being of the fellow passengers. It was a series of Southwest Airlines employees demonstrating fat phobia and casting one person on the flight out and embarrassing and fat shaming that person for no reason. This is not a one-time case; stuff like this is happening to bigger people every single day and on all flights from all airlines. If anything, Kevin Smith spoke the truth for every single big person who has ever been singled out on an airline for no reason.