Women’s March national co-chair Tamika D. Mallory has alleged that she was racially discriminated against by a pilot after he abruptly kicked her off of an American Airlines flight without explanation. She first opened up about the incident in a video posted on Facebook Sunday night.
Speaking with The New York Daily News, Mallory said that she had used an airport kiosk to change her seat from a middle seat to an aisle seat, only for an airport employee to issue her a new ticket at the gate that put her back in the middle seat. “I gave my ticket to the ticket agent, she scanned it, she took the ticket, ripped it in half and a new ticket printed out.”
When she asked the agent why she’d been moved back to a center seat, Mallory said, the ticket agent — a black woman, Mallory said in the Facebook video — became “nasty” and “disrespectful.” A pilot, who overheard the end of the exchange, then decided to get involved.
“He said to me, ‘Can you get on this flight? Are you going to be a problem on this flight?’ I said ‘No, I’m not. Actually, I’m fine. But I will write my complaint down,” Mallory recalled. “He looked at me and said, ‘You’re going to get yourself a one-way ticket off this plane.’”
After the incident, Mallory was allowed onto the plane and had settled into her middle seat when an announcement called her to the front of the plane. When she arrived, the pilot pointed at her and said, “Her, off.” Mallory said that she was driven to tears as she asked why she was being removed, but that she received no explanation as cops were called to escort her off the plane.
“It definitely was white male aggression. I was singled out, I was disrespected, and he was trying to intimidate me,” Mallory told The New York Daily News. “I was discriminated against.”
In wake of the incident, Mallory took to Twitter to denounce the pilot and the airline. The only reason why the pilot got involved, she wrote, “was to assert his white male power over who he thought was just some uppity black girl.”
In a statement earlier this week, American Airlines said it was looking into the incident. “Our team does not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” a representative for the airline said on Monday, HuffPost reported. “We take these allegations seriously, and we are in the process of reaching out to our colleagues in Miami, as well as Ms. Mallory, to obtain additional information on what transpired during the boarding process.”