A Florida Spirit Airlines flight attendant has been disciplined this week after a white passenger thought her “Black Lives Matter, White Supremacy Kills” pin was too political to be worn on the job.
Robert Coyle was on a flight from Houston to Largo, Florida, to visit relatives when the encounter happened. He told FOX 13 News that he voiced his outrage immediately after seeing the pin.
“I said to her, ‘All lives matter,'” Coyle said. “And she said, ‘I disagree with you, I disagree with you on so many levels.’ And then she went into some sort of memorized ‘I really can’t speak politically while I am in uniform.'”
Coyle subsequently pulled his phone out and snapped a photo of the attendant and her pin. The attendant asked the passenger to delete the photo and he told reporters that he did. Then, the flight attendant stopped the safety demonstration and asked the captain to turn the plane around in order to kick Coyle off the flight.
FOX 13 News reported that the woman had only been on the job for 14 months and that, according to the airline, her pin did violate the airline’s dress-code policy. According to the policy, employees are not allowed to wear anything political, religious or inflammatory on their uniforms.
“If you have something offensive on your uniform, you are going to offend customers,” Coyle said, “and customers pay the bills.”
Spirit has not disclosed the type or duration of punishment the woman will face. Additionally, the airline released a statement regarding the incident:
“… While we appreciate that Spirit employees have a wide range of personal views, the expression of those views should not interfere with their ability to provide a positive customer experience when in uniform and on duty. The photo indicates the flight attendant was not in compliance with our uniform policy. We have addressed this with the flight attendant and have spoken with Mr. Coyle regarding this unfortunate situation.”
Spirit Airlines has reimbursed Coyle.