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Civil Rights Violation Sees Green Day's Armstrong Booted Off Southwest Airlines Flight

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

At this point in the game and the latitude flight attendants seem to feel with civil rights and violations of passengers' liberties, only a lawsuit seems bound to correct the airline industry's out-of-control crews. Green Day band leader Billie Joe Armstrong is booted from Southwest Airlines over sagging pans--as the Patriot Act has become an excuse for the abuse of civil liberties.
It's rather amazing anyone still flies Southwest Airlines.
The singer and guitarist for Green Day, which is based in the San Francisco Bay area, made his horrible experience on Southwest very public -- a fact the airline surely didn't count on when kicking the band member off its flight. Crew members kind of picked the wrong person -- choosing someone with a very public persona, with the capability of spreading the word fast: Billie Joe Armstrong immediately tweeted, "Just got kicked off a Southwest [Airlines] flight because my pants sagged too low! What the f---? No joke!" The airline could've picked someone with more followers. That's always possible. But a couple of hundred thousand people -- immediately being notified of how terrible your service is -- isn't what a company hopes for.
Southwest Airlines obviously didn't know who Billie Joe Armstrong was when a flight attendant chose to boot the celebrity off its flight. And, frankly, had he been anyone else -- aka, the average person -- the airline could've cared less. It certainly wouldn't be the average person receiving an apology from Southwest. The company hasn't cared to issue any type of 'sorry' whatsoever in even extreme circumstances when the nation's called for a boycott over Southwest's choice to employ a hate-filled, homophobic pilot by the name of James Taylor -- who openly spewed that hatred via an open microphone last March, offending hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. -- it had no apology.
In fact Southwest initially refused to even offer up the name of the pilot whom had clogged up Houston airwaves. Somehow, the airline deemed that its employee, a man allowed to publicly humiliate and embarrass women and gays, was magically entitled to some level of privacy after the words that he himself chose to speak.
And, yes, the Southwest pilot actually used the word 'hate' in how he feels about gay people. In fact James Taylor has a multitude of statements about gays but his most succinct: "Well, I don't give a fuck -- I hate a hundred percent of their [gay] asses.". And, yes, the pilot actually referred to fat women he'd have sex with -- but never admit to the act. More specifically, Taylor says of women: "Friendly -- but they were both still know what I mean? I still wouldn't want anyone to know if I had banged them." And, yes, Southwest temporarily banned the pilot from work -- before bringing the pilot back into its employ in less than three months. In other words, yes, Southwest could care less about its passengers.
The airline didn't have an apology for the millions who fell in the range to be offended by James Taylor's words. It did make him apologize -- finally. But only to the co-workers he'd offended, and that was to avoid a lawsuit from the flight attendants' union -- and obviously to keep his job.
Southwest Airlines didn't have an apology when it booted a Muslim women off its flight either, causing a U.S. citizen of the country for more than a decade to eventually be forced to tears after essentially calling her a terrorist.
And Southwest didn't have an apology when it kicked a crying woman, whose dad had just suffered a heart attack, off of a flight -- basicallly accusing the woman of drinking too much when she hadn't even been served alcohol at all on the flight.
And Southwest certainly had no remorse when a flight attendant continued to needle a man about not being able to use smokeless electronic cigarettes on the plane -- despite the man not continuing to attempt to use one. A tossed bag of peanuts turned into an assault charge against the passenger -- and, incredulously, up to a 20-year jail or prison term because an object hit the cockpit door. Yes, Southwest had no remorse in those legal charges.
While even the worst-case passenger to airline scenarios are typically played out within local media or some prime newscasts, Southwest just picked up the worst exposure possible: This time, the airline got pretty much every form of media -- big and small -- highlighting its screw-up. Social networking plus choosing the wrong person means Southwest just got itself some instant PR that amounts to over two million Google results, pretty much all of negative.
Making matters worse for an airline that's already got a terribly suffering reputation, the flight happened to have an ABC-7 news producer on board. Yep, Southwest got itself a witness --just not one working in its favor. The airline can't head down the standard path, where the consumer is normally thrown into a battle of defending themselves despite being a company victim. This witness has got some credibility, a very bad thing for an airline already flailing in the public eye. The ABC-7 news producer on the same flight as Armstrong confirms that an airline flight attendant approached the singer -- as the plane was readying to depart, preparing for taxi -- and asked the Green Day band member to hike up his pants. ABC-7's Cindy Qiu says Billie Joe Armstrong responded by inquiring of the attendant if there weren't "better things to do than worry about that?"
The ego of a flight attendant is a very delicate thing.
The Southwest Airlines flight attendant reportedly continued with the pester for Armstrong to pull up sagging pants -- and threatened the band member that he could be thrown off the plane, ejected from the flight, if he refused to comply with her wishes -- telling Armstrong he could be ejected for his refusal to comply. The Green Day singer was trying to reach his seat on the plane during the request. Southwest kicked off both him and his fellow traveler.
In a scenario already lacking for any excuse on behalf of the airline, Southwest Airlines is going to be coming up completely empty-handed -- should anyone choose to ask -- in terms of any reason as to of why an additional passenger was also booted from its flight, over someone else's pants. But of course it's a circle of insanity: Southwest Airlines doesn't have any legitimate reason for kicking off the first passenger either. So, really, why bother asking about a second insanity when the first is unanswerable.
The airline released a statement that the Green Day band member was allowed on the next flight out to his destination. That's Southwest-speak for 'everything's a-ok'. In other words, passengers are supposed to be fine with having civil liberties violated. After all, the airline made sure they got on another flight. Never mind the fact the passenger shouldn't have been embarrassed or kicked off the first flight to begin with. Mr. Brad Hawkins at Southwest also apparently wants to make sure the media knows that (supposedly) Billie Joe Armstrong had told a Southwest customer relations representative, who contacted Armstrong, that he had no further complaints.
"As soon as we became aware of what had happened, we reached out to apologize for this Customer's [Billie Joe Armstrong's] experience," claims Southwest. "He elected to take the next flight. We followed up with this Customer and involved Employees to get more details and, in our latest conversations, understand from the Customer the situation was resolved to his satisfaction." That's kind of doubtful. His satisfaction probably would've involved not being booted off a flight to begin with. The Green Day singer himself hasn't actually confirmed that Southwest statement as true. But, the reality is, what exactly is a passenger supposed to say once he's reached his destination? Thanks for finally getting me there? And thanks for nothing in-between? No, there's nothing you can do for me now that you held up my day for no reason and completely violated my rights?
It's unclear as to when Southwest Airlines deemed itself the 'fashion police'? But perhaps someone needs to sue in order to find out the answer. If the company and it's employees aren't playing fashion police, they're playing a far more dangerous game -- of a law enforcement role that is not their own. And it's a role that's violating civil liberties. There is no enforceable policy or law that stipulates a passenger can not only be kicked off a flight, for some objective idea as to how high pants should be worn, and even arrested and forced to legally defend one's self. The airlines aren't arguing public indecency -- they're arguing 'whim'.
If someone has an argument against unions and how membership can completely drag down the quality of an entire industry, the current state of the air travel industry has to be the most prime example. While the role of a flight attendant has been to insure safety and assist passengers, flight attendants and crew members seem more intent on violating rights of the public.
Billie Joe Armstrong is lucky he's the lead singer for Green Day. Had he been the University of New Mexico football player Deshon Marman -- or the average citizen -- there's virtually no doubt the airline would've had Armstrong arrested like U.S. Airways did just months ago. Marman got to spend at least one night in Northern California jail, forced to legally defend himself over pants while having his rights stripped behind bars -- and financially burdened with an $11,000 bail. While Marman was arrested by the U.S. Airways pilot who didn't have interaction with the passenger, in an event again sparked by flight attendants, another passenger revealed photos of a man who routinely flies the U.S. Airways planes -- essentially wearing nothing but heels, women's panties and short midriffs. Marman, on the other hand, was showing no skin at all -- just a piece of his boxers that were visible while he was carrying luggage.
The U.S. Airways response to the little fact broken by the media, that the company routinely allows a man to fly who's showing virtually nothing but skin: The airline claims Deshon Marman was thrown off the flight and arrested by police because he didn't "comply". The question is, comply for what reason? If a flight attendant tells a passenger to drop to the floor and do 20 push-ups, is the passenger obligated to comply with those instructions? About as obligated as being given vague, personal instructions as to what fashion is or isn't personally acceptable to an airline employee.
If the airlines need a clue, while Deshon Marman was held on suspicion of trespassing, battery of a police officer and obstruction of a police investigation -- with cops initially claiming the young, black man had resisted the police officer who had escorted the passenger off the plane -- the D.A. of San Mateo County ultimately refused to bring legal charges against Marman. Perhaps the airlines need to pay heed to the wake-up call: If a district attorney is refusing to prosecute, you've got a problem.

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