‘Steamy, stale trash’: Southwest passenger claims she was kicked off flight for defending ‘slut-shamed’ woman

·4-min read

A woman has claimed that she was removed from a recent Southwest Airlines flight after she defended a young woman who was being “harassed” by an employee for her “revealing” tank top.

Melinna Bobadilla shared the incident to Twitter on 11 July. In a series of now-viral tweets, the California-based actress explained that she was removed from the Sacramento flight for questioning the airline’s “misogynistic” dress code.

“Hey friends just got pulled off a @SouthwestAir flight bc I advocated for a young woman being shamed and harassed by an employee for wearing a tank top that was deemed too revealing,” she began the Twitter thread. “He [sic] employee became defensive when I asked about what rules the young woman was breaking.”

The female employee told Bobadilla that the young woman was “wearing a corset” which some passengers found “offensive.” Bobadilla then told the flight attendant that she “felt threatened and offended” by the man sitting directly behind her, who was wearing a “Let’s Go Brandon” shirt. Unlike the young woman, Bobadilla said that the employee did not ask the man to change his shirt.

She tweeted: “Basically @SouthwestAir slut shamed a young woman of color for wearing a tank top they deemed offensive, forced her to wear a company issued sweater, removed me for questioning their misogynistic policy, exercised a double standard when enforcing an alleged offensive attire rule”.

Bobadilla also claimed that employees at Southwest Airlines called the police during the altercation, although it is unclear whether the police removed Bobadilla from the flight.

“The raggedy folks at @SouthwestAir in Sacramento disrespected two women of color, endangered one by needlessly calling the cops, and went out of their way to protect a conservative white man. Yup that tracks,” she said. “@SouthwestAir is steamy, stale trash. Go out of business already”.

Bobadilla’s tweet received more than 29,000 likes and hundreds of retweets from fellow concerned customers. Many people also took the opportunity to call out airlines for their restrictive dress codes, which have predominantly objectified women and policed their clothing.

“Since when do airlines have dress codes? & are able to force women to put on sweaters/deplane for speaking up??” tweeted one user in response. “@SouthwestAir This is grossly unwarranted & absolutely disturbing. Shame on you.”

One Twitter user wrote: “I am so tired of the sexualisation of women’s bodies!!! It’s a tank top bro. I’ve seen so many men wearing tank tops and nobody says a word…stop harassing women!”

“Tell me again there isn’t a war on women and policing our bodies,” another person said. “Tell me one more time.”

In response to the thread, Southwest Airlines replied to Bobadilla’s tweet: “Thanks for reaching out, Melinna, and we’re sorry to hear you were unable to travel to your destination as planned. Please send us a DM with your confirmation #, as well as any additional details about your experience you wish to share, and we’ll follow-up with you ASAP.”

This was not the first time a Southwest customer has been singled out by the airline due to the way they are dressed. In October 2020, Kayla Eubanks shared on Twitter that she was traveling from New York to Chicago at LaGuardia Airport when she was refused entry to her boarding gate by Southwest Airlines staff.

In an interview with Buzzfeed News, Eubanks explained that her halter top was in breach of the airline’s dress code policy. When she asked the employee to inform her of the company’s policy, the worker was unable to do so.

According to the Southwest Airlines policy, the dress code is: “Dress to impress. While Southwest’s dress code is relaxed and casual, you will be expected to present a clean, well- groomed, and tasteful appearance.”

The Independent has contacted Melinna Bobadilla and Southwest Airlines for comment.

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