Did This Man Intentionally Get Himself Kicked Off a Flight by Wearing an Offensive T-Shirt?

Southwest Airlines has a history of policing offensive t-shirts on its flights.  While it does not have an official dress code, the airline does allow its flight crew to make decisions based on the specific situation.

A man was thrown off a flight (and rebooked on another) after a disagreement over his t-shirt.  His shirt said “F*** Trump” (without the asterixis of course).

Looks like someone needs to put some money in the swear jar...
Looks like someone needs to put some money in the swear jar…

While the flight crew maintains that it was the use of the F word that got him thrown off, he claims his treatment was politically motivated.

From the ABC 15 local (Phoenix) affiliate story:

“What’s really the problem? Are you a Trump fan or something? I mean, is Southwest for Trump?†Kevin inquired rhetorically.

He said he was wearing his F-Trump shirt and waiting for the Southwest flight when a gate agent came to him and asked that he change – or at least turn the shirt inside out.

While a lot of these flight crew / passenger stories involve a lot of he-said-she-said, I find it difficult to buy his version of events.  He was quick to accuse the airline of being politically motivated, even though his shirt contained a very explicit word.  It leads me to wonder–did he do this intentionally, knowing he’d get “caught” and get press around it?

Southwest has a history of “policing” clothing in flight.  Last year, there was national coverage over the airline requesting that someone remove their t-shirt and replace it with another one.

From a Fox News story on that case:

Podolsky deplaned to use the restroom, but when he returned to the gate a Southwest agent told him his black t-shirt with the words “Broad F—king City,†wouldn’t fly.  The shirt was a promotional item handed out by Comedy Central to hundreds of festival attendees.

Podolsky claims that he was wearing a jacket during the first leg of the flight, so apparently no one took notice of his shirt—until he shed a layer in the cabin

In the case of Podolsky, he claimed he would have changed his shirt if the airline had just given him the chance to.  But if you look at the cell phone footage from the event, he repeatedly refused to change his shirt, citing his free speech.

As a side bar, there always seems to be a misunderstanding of “free speech.”  Yes, the government can’t restrict your free speech, but companies can decide what they want or don’t want said in their businesses.  I can’t just walk into a children’s bookstore and start dropping F-bombs.

Southwest also made a man remove a shirt that mentioned a solo sexual act across the front of it.

So Southwest has had a clear history of policing bad languages on flights.

My guess is, in this case, the man was asked to remove his t-shirt and immediately accused the airline of being a Trump fan.  Since it was clear he was trying to cause trouble, the crew threw him off.

Again, that’s my guess based on the facts of the situation and I can’t say that’s 100% what happened.

But it really seems to me that he was intentionally looking for trouble.  What do you think?

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Good for them. I agree it sounds like someone was trying to get their five minutes of fame.

  2. Why would anyone fly southwest? not that I would wear anything like that but I think people should be free to wear what they want so long as they are not exposing parts of themselves no one needs to see

  3. Bravo, Southwest. F*** Him!

  4. I agree with you.

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