"L Word" star booted off plane over kissing dispute

Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:51pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former "The L Word" star Leisha Hailey complained in a stream of Twitter messages on Monday that she and a girlfriend were kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight in a dispute over their kissing on a plane.

Hailey, 40, tweeted that a flight attendant had told her that Southwest "was a 'family' airline and kissing was not ok," and that she and her companion were then "escorted off the plane for getting upset about the issue."

"SouthwestAir endorses homophobic employees," she tweeted. "Since when is showing affection toward someone you love illegal? I want to know what Southwest Airlines considers a 'family.'"

She went on to tweet: "Boycott SouthwestAir if you are gay. They don't like us."

Hailey, who starred on Showtime network's "The L Word" as Alice, a bisexual magazine writer and radio host, also demanded a public apology.

The airline issued a statement saying initial reports it received about the incident "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," the airline said. "The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight."

The statement concluded: "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 expectation."

An airline spokesman declined to comment beyond the prepared statement.

The incident comes a little over three weeks after another celebrity, Green Day rocker Billie Joe Armstrong, was complained he was booted from a Southwest flight in Oakland, California, because he was wearing his baggy pants too low.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

 
<p>Cast member Leisha Hailey answers questions during the Showtime panel for "The L Word" at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Los Angeles January 14, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>