File photo of actress Leisha Hailey.
Leisha Hailey says Southwest Airlines endorses homophobia. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Clea DuVall/Wikipedia)

Leisha Hailey, the 40-year-old actress who starred in the Showtime series “The L Word” as bisexual journalist Alice Pieszecki, tweeted that Southwest Airlines kicked her and girlfriend Camila Grey off Flight 2274 on Monday because the couple shared a kiss while on the plane. Southwest is claiming it was obscene language that prompted their ejection, reports Radar Online.

Lesbians kissing on ‘a family airline’

According to Hailey’s tweet, she and Grey were escorted off the Southwest flight after becoming upset when a flight attendant implied that kissing Grey violated the airline’s commitment to “family values.”

“Southwest Air endorses homophobic employees,” tweeted Leisha Hailey. “Since when is showing affection toward someone you love illegal? I want to know what Southwest Airlines considers a ‘family.’”

Hailey went on to tweet: “Boycott Southwest Air if you are gay. They don’t like us.” She also demanded a public apology from Southwest Airlines.

Southwest said Hailey’s behavior was ‘excessive’

In its defense, Southwest claims that passenger complaints of Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey’s behavior necessitated action on the part of the flight attendant.

“Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender,” Southwest wrote in a public statement. “The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight.”

Was profane language the true culprit?

The airline had declined comment on the issue, outside of the first written public statement. However, the airline later released a second statement in which it claimed profane language from Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey factored heavily in the Southwest flight attendant’s decision to eject them from the aircraft.

“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 on board the aircraft,” read the latter statement.

‘You can’t whisper hate’

Despite the PR spin given by Southwest Airlines regarding its support of the LGBT community, Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey have not backed down from their accusations of homophobia, writes Radar Online.

“In no way were our actions on Southwest Airlines excessive, inappropriate or vulgar… We were simply being affectionate like any normal couple,” read a statement from Hailey. “We take full responsibility for getting verbally upset with the flight attendant after being told it was a ‘family airline.’ No matter how quietly homophobia is whispered, it doesn’t make it any less loud. You can’t whisper hate.”

Leisha Hailey as Alice on ‘The L Word’ (Contains adult situations)

Sources

Camila Grey and Leisha Hailey official response: http://bit.ly/rou0fS

Leisha Hailey Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/#!/Leisha_Hailey

Radar Online: http://bit.ly/nQ7Xvd

Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/26/us-leishahailey-southwest-idUSTRE78P6GU20110926

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