American Airlines widely condemned after threatening to throw black female, Houston, Texas, doctor, Tisha Rowe off flight over ‘inappropriate dress’.
A US airliner has received a torrent of condemnation after a black woman accused American Airlines of racism and sexualization of body form after she was taken off her flight by staff and told she would not be allowed to re-board unless she covered up her ‘assets’ because her dress outfit was deemed inappropriate.
Tisha Rowe, 37, a doctor from Houston, Texas, took to Twitter on Sunday, June 30, posting that she was ‘disgusted’ and ‘humiliated’ after being asked to step off a plane for a ‘talk’ during which she was asked to ‘cover up’ for a flight from Kingston, Jamaica, to Miami, Florida.
‘When defending my outfit I was threatened with not getting back on the flight unless I walked down the aisle wrapped in a blanket,’ Tisha said, adding that she advises anyone who has ‘a big butt and wears shorts’ to avoid flying with the airline.
‘So American Airlines just told me I couldn’t board the flight without putting a jacket over my ASSETS. My shorts covered EVERYTHING but apparently was too distracting to enter the plane,’ her first tweet read.
‘I guess that’s why they are AMERICAN airlines,’ Tisha, who has three degrees including psychobiology and medicine, and is the founder of a tele-medicine company Rowe Docs, added.
Tisha Rowe American Airlines drama: ‘We are policed for being black. Our bodies are over sexualized as women.’
Rowe eventually complied, while telling Buzzfeed News left her ‘humiliated.’
‘I felt powerless,’ she told the outlet. ‘There was nothing I could do in that moment other than give up my money and my seat to defend my position that I was completely appropriate.’
Rowe explained that she and other women are ‘policed’ and ‘over sexualized’, and that she doesn’t think a white woman would receive the same treatment if she wore a similar outfit.
‘We are policed for being black. Our bodies are over sexualized as women and we must ADJUST to make everyone around us comfortable.
‘I’ve seen white women with much shorter shorts board a plane without a blink of an eye. I guess if it’s a “nice ass” vs a @Serena Booty it’s okay…’ she added.
Tisha said her ‘amazing vacation’ that she shared with her eight-year-old son Chase ended with her child crying, and that blanket they had asked her to cover her body with placed over his head.
She said she will ‘never forget this experience’, which left her ‘disgusted’.
‘I just really want to know has #AmericanAirlines done this to anyone else or is my ass just that distracting. I’m disgusted. The only power I have is my voice so I’m going to use it,’ Tisha said.
‘PSA – if you have a big butt and wear shorts do not fly with @AmericanAir #americanairlinessucks,’ she added.
‘Telling a passenger to cover their behind when their behind is already covered is BODY SHAMING,’ she said.
She added: ‘Apparently the @AmericanAirlines captain who never saw me felt it was Fine to tell me cover up although he never laid eyes on me.’
Eager to ‘diffuse’ the situation, Tisha told Today Style asking the attendant if she could wrap a blanket around her instead, to which the flight attendant responded, saying: ‘Yeah, because that’s the only way you’re getting on here.’
Social media condemns American Airlines:
Rowe’s experience has since elicited condemnation on Twitter, with sample responses below.
Responded one social media user: ‘@AmericanAir How else should one dress from June from Kingston to Miami? Sweats? Jeans? Turtleneck? 3 piece suit? Floor length skin? Her breasts and butt were covered. You policed her curves. Shame on you.’
Posted another, ‘Dress cods are for employees, not customers.’
Adding, ‘What’s the issue with what she’s wearing? Was someone jealous of her? She looks cute and comfortable. Sh’s completely covered up and respectable looking. Serously, @AmericanAir. …lots of people are waiting for answer’.
A regard of American Airlines’ contract of carriage states that all passengers must ‘dress appropriately’ and that ‘bare feet or offensive clothing aren’t allowed’.
However, the airline’s website doesn’t specifically state what is deemed ‘appropriate’ attire.
Responded Shannon Gilson, a spokesperson for the airline via Business Insider: ‘We were concerned about Dr. Rowe’s comments, and reached out to her and our team at the Kingston airport to gather more information about what occurred.
‘Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to reach Dr. Rowe or leave a message at the number provided. We want to personally apologize to Dr. Rowe and her son for their experience, and have fully refunded their travel.
‘We are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds and are committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us.’