Leisha Hailey of 'The L Word' responds to Southwest Airlines statement, denies kiss was 'inappropriate'
Leisha Hailey, who played Alice Pieszecki on Showtime's "The L Word," and fellow bandmate, Camila Grey, issued a statement on Tuesday, September 27, in response to Southwest Airlines' initial claim that the two were removed from their flight because passengers had complained about the the pair's "excessive" display of affection.
"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," the statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com read. "We are responsible adult women who walk through the world with dignity. We were simply being affectionate like any normal couple."
"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 statement continued. "No matter how quietly homophobia is whispered, it doesn't make it any less loud. You can't whisper hate."
On Monday, Hailey -- who can be seen on the right in the photo above -- Tweeted about getting kicked off the flight. The couple was in El Paso, Texas visiting Grey's parents.
A Southwest Airlines crew member reportedly claimed that passengers had complained about the couple's "excessive" display of affection and escorted them off the plane when the argument escalated.
Southwest Airlines issued a statement on their website Monday which claimed the behavior was "excessive" and not based on gender.
"Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive," Southwest wrote in a statement on Monday. "Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all Customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender. The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight. We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling short of their expectations."
The company released another statement on Tuesday indicating that their decision to remove Hailey and Grey from the flight was because of the language the two used after being told about the passenger complaints.
"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. At least one family who was offended by the loud profanity moved to another area of the cabin," Southwest's new statement read. "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. 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."
Hailey claimed on her official Twitter page on Monday, that she had recorded the stewardess' actions on audio and video and asked her fans to boycott the airline.
The 40-year-old actress is best known for her role as Alice Pieszecki on "The L Word." She has also appeared in films like "La cucina," "Some Girl" and "Fertile Ground."
She has also performed as a musician in the pop duo The Murmurs and the indie Electropop band Uh Huh Her.
Earlier in the month, Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong was kicked off a Southwest flight because his "pants sagged too low." Armstrong took to Twitter to voice his displeasure at the time.
They also booted "Mallrats" director Kevin Smith from an Oakland to Burbank flight in February 2010 because of his weight, saying he didn't fit properly into a single seat. Smith blasted the airline on Twitter and in a podcast for the incident.
On Southwest's official website, the airline claims to take pride in their "outreach and commitment to the GLBT community." The company is also the official airline of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA), and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).