“The L Word” Star Kicked Off Plane After Lesbian Kiss

NEW YORK (AP) – A lesbian actress who starred in the Showtime cable show “The L Word” says she was escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight for kissing a woman, while the airline says it was excessive and drew customer complaints.

Leisha Hailey took to Twitter on Monday to call for a boycott of the carrier after a flight attendant told them other passengers had complained after witnessing the affection.

Her first tweet said: “I have been discriminated against.” She later added, “Since when is showing affection to someone you love illegal?”

Southwest Airlines Co. responded on its website with a four-sentence response.

“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,” it said.

A discussion followed on the flight, and the airline said it “escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground.”

The actress and her unidentified girlfriend were on a flight from Baltimore to St. Louis. The kissing occurred in the air and a discussion followed when the plane landed, but details of how the couple was escorted off the flight were not included in the Southwest statement.

Hailey said the encounter between the couple and a flight attendant was recorded. It’s not immediately clear who made it.

A message seeking comment from Halley’s spokeswoman, Libby Coffey, was not immediately returned.

Hailey was a musician before joining the cast of the Showtime drama featuring the lives of lesbian friends and lovers living in Los Angeles. She played the character Alice Pieszecki. The show is currently not aired.

Southwest’s website says it is the official airline of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs at GLAAD, said in an email that “GLAAD contacted Southwest to call for additional actions beyond tonight’s statement that ensure all customers feel comfortable and welcomed while traveling.”

Earlier this month, the Dallas-based airline kicked off Green Day’s lead man Billie Joe Armstrong for wearing his pants too low. The Grammy winner was escorted off a plane after failing to follow a flight attendant’s directive to pull the pants up.

Southwest also removed director Kevin Smith from a flight last year because he didn’t fit properly in a single seat. His first tweet read, “Dear @SouthwestAir I know I’m fat, but was (the) captain (…) really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?”

Halley is preparing to launch a 21-city tour to promote breast cancer awareness.


(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • John Patterson

    More power to Southwest! Just listen to all of the whining people who are upset that they got booted from a flight, even though they DESERVED IT. Stop thinking that the world owes you your lifestyle and indulgences. It does NOT. Show some class, restraint, and common courtesy in public, and you won’t have to worry about little things like getting kicked off a plane. How self-indulgent, crude, obnoxious, and stupid do people have to be?

    • Troll Slayer

      I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    • Juk

      Right on.

  • Marcie

    What a fake headline. They weren’t kicked off “for kissing”. It was afterward when they became combative. I stand by the airline. Kick ’em off.

  • Jennifer

    I don’t like PDA, heterosexual included…it’s offensive and intrusive. Southwest absolutely did the right thing!!

  • annanatural

    Southwest rocks!! Shame on Leisha.

  • Hoo

    Go Southwest! You don’t do things like this unless you want the attention it generates. This woman wanted attention and got it.

  • Joey Ross

    Hmmm, anyone got any pics? Pics or it didnt happen lol


    • Juk


  • amaranthmine

    I just think it’s sad that we live in a culture where PDA is considered offensive. And really, Southwest? If your only measure of inappropriate and offensive is what other passengers think, you could have a republican kicked off a flight full of democrats just because they refuse to put away the political literature they are reading. A Tarot reader could be kicked off for refusing to put her cards away. It’s a dangerous standard to hold.

    • Juk

      Or you could have amaranthmine kicked off for making things up.

  • darrell

    since this site censors reasonable comments ill say what i have to say another way.
    just because you have an alternate lifestyle, PDA to the point that it bothers others is uncalled for. there may be neighborhoods, establishments or events where it is acceptable to do more than just a kiss or a hug but the prolonged exchange of bodily fluids in not acceptable. screaming you were discriminated against or your civil rights were violated because you are not allowed to force you non-mainstream lifestyle on everyone else borders on criminal assault. get over it, your not special, never will be. we cant make you be normal but you can at least act civil like normal people do in public.

  • YRofTexas

    I am of the opinion that this was pre-meditated set up.

    This couple agreed beforehand to make a wild public display to bring attention to themselves. When Southwest reacted (as they wanted them to do in the first place), then this couple would go into their discrimination tirade. By forcing SW to back down, and any lawsuits that follow, it will influence other airlines to follow suite…backing down and allowing excessive behavior to occur on their planes, as well.

    After the airline industry is “straightened out” (pun intended), then other industries will be targeted.

    This wasn’t a little separate ‘accidental’ incident.

    This was well planned and carried out with expected results. Very smart ladies, huh? They knew what they were doing; now lets see how strong SouthWest Airline’s attorneys are in seeing this farce for exposing it for what it is, and why it really happened.

  • Lauren M.

    It is frustrating that as soon as a person with an alternative lifestyle has anyone show that they may not totally agree with what they are doing, that they jump on the “I’m being discriminated against train”, and never consider the fact that the people who disagree with what they are doing have just as much right to feel the way they do and have the right to not agree with their behaviors. There is such a huge wave now of people thinking that others have to be tolerant of alternative lifestyles, and yet those who choose to live alternative lifestyles tend to forget to be ‘tolerant’ of those who have opposing views from them, and can’t accept that some people just do not and will not ever agree with it.

  • Pam


  • Sandi Pruett

    They got just what they wanted, attention! Thank you SWA for not backing down to their demands. A person with class who is accused of offending anyone,anywhere would simply say,” I’m Sorry” if they weren’t seeking attention. We’ve been on flights where heterosexuals were asked to leave airplanes for crossing the line and arguing their point. She demanded & got her free publicity!

  • RussP

    Can you say “cheap publicity stunt” by a mediocre actress with a so-so career? I never heard of this girl until this happened. And then there’s Twitter, the place for people who can’t spell or form complete sentences to have a conversation.

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