Someone in corporate PR's decidedly not enjoying their Sunday. Yesterday, Kevin Smith started Live-Twittering his experience getting kicked off of a Southwest Airlines flight for being too fat. It was, for the most part, pretty impressive. Update: Southwest responds.
In fact, one can say this is the best thing Kevin Smith's written since Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, or if you're not in his dedicated legion of bong-ripping fans, Dogma. As far as Tweakouts go, this one was pretty great.
It started off slowly enough:
Dear @SouthwestAir - I know I'm fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?
But then, like these things tend to, started to snowball:
Dear @SouthwestAir, I flew out in one seat, but right after issuing me a standby ticket, Oakland Southwest attendant Suzanne (wouldn't give..last name) told me Captain Leysath deemed me a "safety risk". Again: I'm way fat... But I'm not THERE just yet. But if I am, why wait til my..bag is up, and I'm seated WITH ARM RESTS DOWN. In front of a packed plane with a bunch of folks who'd already I.d.ed me as "Silent Bob."
And then, shit really got rolling, as he even offered up the "embarrassment training" his own film Jersey Girl prepared him for:
So, @SouthwestAir, go fuck yourself. I broke no regulation, offered no "safety risk" (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?). I was..wrongly ejected from the flight (even Suzanne eventually agreed). And fuck your apologetic $100 voucher, @SouthwestAir. Thank God I don't..embarrass easily (bless you, JERSEY GIRL training). But I don't sulk off either: so everyday, some new fuck-you Tweets for @SouthwestAir.
And then, he kept going
Wanna tell me I'm too wide for the sky? Totally cool. But fair warning, folks: IF YOU LOOK LIKE ME, YOU MAY BE EJECTED FROM @SOUTHWESTAIR.
Via @byrneification "save the anger for SModcast" Believe it, Son. @SouthwestAir? You fucked with the wrong sedentary processed-foods eater!
(1/2) @pigz "I know several people bigger then u who have flown on other airlines" I saw someone bigger than me on THAT flight! But I wasn't (2/2) about to throw a fellow Fatty under the plane as I'm being profiled. But he & I made eye contact, & he was like "Please don't tell..."
And finally got on another plane. And still kept at it:
Dear @SouthwestAir, I'm on another one of your planes, safely seated & buckled-in again, waiting to be dragged off in front of the normies. And, hey? @SouthwestAir? I didn't even need a seat belt extender to buckle up. Somehow, that shit fit over my "safety concern"-creating gut.
Via @bogo_lode "Maybe you should organize a boycott" A boycott of one. This is my last Southwest flight. Hopefully by choice.
Hey @SouthwestAir! Look how fat I am on your plane! Quick! Throw me off! http://twitpic.com/1340gw
Hey @SouthwestAir! Sometimes, the arm rests are up because THE PEOPLE SITTING THERE ALREADY PUT THEM UP; NOT BECAUSE THEY "CAN'T GO DOWN."
The @SouthwestAir Diet. How it works: you're publicly shamed into a slimmer figure. Crying the weight right off has never been easier!
Via @mmm_cereal "my dad's bigger than you & flies southwest all the time. some1 just wanted to say they were a dick to a celeb" Celeb? Me?!
An hour later, Kevin Smith finally landed. And when he did, guess what the first thing he did was? Oh yes:
Hey @SouthwestAir! I've landed in Burbank. Don't worry: wall of the plane was opened & I was airlifted out while Richard Simmons supervised.
(1/2) Hey @SouthwestAir? Fuck making it right for me just 'cause I have a platform. I sat next to a big girl who was chastised for not buy-(2/2) ing an extra ticket because "all passengers deserve their space." Fucking flight wasn't even full! Fuck your size-ist policy. Rude...
Hey @SouthwestAir! Here are two more "recent recognitions" for your Twitter home page: "Loather of the Wide" or "Pissin' on the Portlies". Via @Ajax517 "Don't let them muzzle you, time to make them burn for all the fatties out there without a voice" Amen, sir.
And eventually, as to be expected, kicked in with the serious self-promotion. The third act is always the worst, no?
Hey @SouthwestAir! I've just recorded a Very Special Episode of SModcast - all for you. It goes live tomorrow night. http://www.smodcast.com
But the final round of shots gets interesting:
Via @neilhimself "Dear @southwestair, *I* would gladly sit next to kevinsmith on a plane." This doesn't change shit between us, Hair-Bear...Via @misskubelik "do you know about the other times @SouthwestAir has been sued for doing this same thing" I want nothing from these people.
(1/2) @3rdVentureBro "They're only apologizing because smith has a platform to express his displeasure." Bingo. It's disingenuous as fuck.
(2/2) Wait 'til you hear SMod story about the girl sitting next to me who was pulled aside & chastised for not buying an additional seat.
Via @neilhimself "Southwestair? Following my orders. And it's going to get worse." You're only a better villain than me 'cause your British.
Especially when someone says what everyone else is, at this point, thinking some variation of:
Via @Digigala "Give it a rest, I understand @southwest was bad to you." Fair enough. No more SWA-talk 'til SModcast tomorrow night.
And apparently, Southwest did try to reach out to Smith to apologize, but as Smith notes, only because he was a celebrity. A little picture of their handling of the situation:
On one hand, the poor girl serving Southwest Airlines' Twitter account: she must've had herself one hell of a weekend, and deserves a medal of honor for maintaining her sanity under a barrage of Twitter @hatred.
On the other hand, someone on said Southwest flight—or somewhere in that company—should probably know better than to disturb a guy with a rabid fanbase and a Twitter account with 1.6M followers. And since the discount airline's going to be equipping their airlines with Wi-Fi soon, they might want to look into being a wee bit more careful with who's flying on their planes, and how they handle a policy that's already attracted enough negative attention. Kevin Smith probably wasn't a "safety risk," and even demonstrated how he fit into a seat on another one of their flights.
That said, Southwest is pretty cheap, and people are still going to fly it, and Kevin Smith's most devoted fans are probably too sedate to do anything about this but bitch some more on Twitter. Everyone else wins because we get to see a corporation go head to head with a Celebrity Tweakout. And a relatively smart one, too! One question remains, however:
Why the hell was Kevin Smith flying Southwest to begin with? Does being the director of a major upcoming Warner Bros. release really pay so shittily?
Update: Southwest Airlines has responded with a full blog post of their own they entitled "Not So Silent Bob." Nice. In it, they apologize for what happened, but they go on to note the following:
Mr. Smith originally purchased two Southwest seats on a flight from Oakland to Burbank – as he's been known to do when traveling on Southwest. He decided to change his plans and board an earlier flight to Burbank, which technically means flying standby. As you may know, airlines are not able to clear standby passengers until all Customers are boarded. When the time came to board Mr. Smith, we had only a single seat available for him to occupy. Our pilots are responsible for the Safety and comfort of all Customers on the aircraft and therefore, made the determination that Mr. Smith needed more than one seat to complete his flight. Our Employees explained why the decision was made, accommodated Mr. Smith on a later flight, and issued him a $100 Southwest travel voucher for his inconvenience.
Well, this is a different story, isn't it? But it's pretty interesting that Southwest noted how Smith had been "known" to purchase two Southwest seats when he makes the Oakland to Burbank flights.
Is that public knowledge? Or did Southwest just disclose a piece of their customer's confidential information?
Granted, it seems like fair game once Smith started broadcasting his thoughts. But also, if you bitch about your flight in public and get it picked up by some press, is the way you purchase your seats going to be aired out, too?