Florida woman told to change 'offensive' t-shirt that read 'Hail Satan' or get off American Airlines plane
Her black crewneck tee said "Hail Satan" on the front and it was a tee she had bought to support the Satanic Temple, the religious organization that is known to advocate free speech
A woman was asked to cover up her "Hail Satan" shirt on an American Airlines flight after the crew member found it offensive.
Swati Runi Goyal, a 49-year-old Florida scientist, was traveling with her husband on October 30 from Florida to Nevada when their flight got rerouted to Miami.
When she was asked to come with the crew during the flight, she couldn't have thought that they were about to ask her to change the shirt or get off the plane.
Her black crewneck tee said "Hail Satan" on the front and she had bought it to support the Satanic Temple, the religious organization that is known to advocate free speech and is aimed at encouraging "benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will."
She is a member of the recognized church, although she is not a Satan worshipper.
"It's an ironic shirt," Goyal told BuzzFeed News. "People usually laugh at it, or they give me a thumbs up because they understand the meaning behind it." She and her husband had settled into their seats when a crew member walked up to them and delivered the baffling news.
"He said, 'Our crew has found your shirt to be offensive'," said Goyal. "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."
They refused to deplane but the crew member pressed on. "The man said, 'Your shirt is offensive. Do you know what that means?'" Goyal said. "I said, 'I'm a foreign-born minority woman, I understand 'offensive' and this shirt is not offensive'."
She told the crew that she had worn the tee before and it had never caused any problems. Her husband had to lend her a coverup so they could stay on the plane. However, the crew is said to have ignored her for the rest of the flight.
"I'm just an ordinary-looking person," she said, "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," she added. "I mean, I couldn't look like more of a nerd."
After the "humiliating" incident, she contacted the airlines but they did not apologize initially. "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," was the response she received, according to an e-mail.
She told the New York Post, "I'm really trying to make some good deeds come out of this. This is really about religious discrimination," she said. "Because they treated me this way, I can only imagine how they're treating other religious groups like Muslims."
Although they later apologized for the incident and offered a refund, this isn't the first time an incident like this has happened with American Airlines.
Earlier this year, a woman was removed from the flight because her romper had been too revealing to a crew member. Two Muslim passengers had their flights canceled after a crew member was uncomfortable in September.