I would probably never wear a shirt like this, but we live in a free society where people can wear whatever they want, wherever they want…actually, never mind, this shirt is pretty cool and I admit it that I would probably wear it in public.
A woman named Swati Runi Goyal was recently flying from Florida to Nevada, and, not thinking of potential consequences, she donned a t-shirt that said “Hail Satan. Est. 666” for the trip. The shirt also featured an upside-down cross (for good measure).
But when Goyal boarded her flight, she was told by an American Airlines crew member that she had to change her shirt or she would be removed from the plane.
A woman wearing a "Hail Satan" shirt on an American Airlines flight was told to either change or get off the plane https://t.co/SHsgRXlMVs
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) December 6, 2019
Goyal is a member of The Satanic Temple, and she bought the shirt to support the organization. Despite the name, the Temple is known for activism on such issues as the separation of church and state, religious freedom, and free speech. Goyal said, “It’s an ironic shirt. People usually laugh at it, or they give me a thumbs-up because they understand the meaning behind it.”
Goyal said about the incident, a crew-member “said, ‘Our crew has found your shirt to be offensive.’ We initially just thought it was a joke. But he repeated the directive, and there was another female crew member who was behind him with her arms crossed looking very angry.”
Goyal and her husband refused to get off the plane. She continued, “The man said, ‘Your shirt is offensive. Do you know what that means?’” I said, ‘I’m a foreign-born minority woman, I understand ‘offensive,’ and this shirt is not offensive.’”
A Key West woman called out American Airlines for religious discrimination after a flight crew demanded she cover up her “Hail Satan” T-shirt, or get off the plane. https://t.co/LDLznOVngS
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) December 10, 2019
A standoff ensued and the flight crew brought on a customer service agent to tell Goyal she would not be able to fly while wearing the shirt. Eventually, Goyal’s husband gave her a layer of the clothing he was wearing, and she reluctantly agreed to cover up the language on her shirt so the flight could take off.
Goyal said she was humiliated over the incident. “I’m just an ordinary-looking person.I’m not goth. I don’t have piercings. I wasn’t wearing a shirt that had a goat being beheaded on it. [I was] wearing L.L.Bean hiking pants and vegan sneakers. I mean, I couldn’t look like more of a nerd.”
After the flight, Goyal complained to American Airlines. The airline initially refused to apologize and sent an email that read in part that they “have policies in place to ensure that no passengers are subjected to objectionable situations while on board. Our flight attendants have a responsibility to all passengers in our care, and we must sometimes make difficult decisions associated with the application of our policies.”
After Goyal tweeted about her experience and the story went viral, the company said “Discrimination has no place at American Airlines” on Twitter. A spokesperson for the airline said, “We apologize to Ms. Goyal for her experience, and we are reaching out to her to understand what occurred.”
— Secret Flying (@SecretFlying) December 12, 2019
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