Ok, that title is a little misleading, he’s not a terrorist, he’s apparently a FAT terrorist according to Southwest Airlines. Over the weekend director, and sometimes actor, Kevin Smith, was escorted off of a Southwest Airlines flight from Oakland to Burbank after flying up there earlier that morning for a live SModcast. I’m not going to take the time to bore you with my summarization of what went down on said flight because Smith himself took to his Twitter, his Blog and more importantly, a special edition of SModcast which he recorded as soon as he got home that night.
Essentially Southwest booted him off of the flight for no good reason, at first only telling him that he was a “security risk”, which in my eyes means terrorist, and then dancing around using the word “fat” as the reasoning. Now I’ll come out and say that I am a fan of Smith’s work and his writing/speaking, the guy knows how to tell a story and could tell me I had terminal cancer and I’d probably find it amusing, but I tried to be un-bias in my thoughts on this issue. Is Kevin smith “fat”? Yes, he’s definitely a larger man and by the definition of “fat”, I guess he fits that. Is he morbidly obese? I would have to say no. Sure the weight issue is not good for his health, it’s not good for anyone’s health to be overweight, but I don’t think that makes him “morbidly” obese. Should he have been kicked off the plane? Absolutely not… and here’s why.
I don’t fly that often, but when I do I, like a lot of other people in the world, find it uncomfortable to be seated next to someone that invades my personal space. And I’m not even talking about a fat person, it could be anyone that spills over into my seat area, whether that means actual body parts like an elbow because you don’t know etiquette when sharing an armrest, or the fact that you feel like sitting spread eagle in your chair, thus cramming your legs against mine… Or even personal belongings spilling over onto me, whatever it is, nobody enjoys being crammed into the tiny airplane seats with all your crap pushing them further into the corner. So with that said, I see the airlines concerns when 1 customer is making another feel uncomfortable, they obviously need to try to make things as comfortable for everyone as they can. The usual test for this sort of thing is the armrest/seatbelt test which basically means if you can put both armrests down and wear the seatbelt (even with an extender, which Smith does not require), then you comply with the rules and should have no problem flying without disturbing the people around you.
Smith passed all of these tests and was still escorted off of the plane for being too fat, which in itself is absolutely ridiculous. No person, whether recognizable or not, should be forced off of a plane after passing a test which determines whether or not they are allowed to fly. If they aren’t going to adhere to the outcome of said test, then they should rethink the test. Maybe the solution is to embarrass large people even more by putting an example seat outside the gate like on a rollercoaster, so you can see if you fit or not before boarding…(sarcasm). So I definitely agree with Smith on everything he’s said regarding the policy and that Southwest was in the wrong for booting him, but now it seems that he’s getting a lot of shit from people for the way he’s handling the situation via his means of communication with the world (Twitter, Blog, SModcast, etc). And I want to touch on that a bit after the jump.
A lot of people are coming out and saying that Smith is only bitching because he’s a stuck up Hollywood snob who thinks he’s better than everyone and deserves to be treated like a king when flying. Wow, really? Do these people writing these articles even know Kevin Smith? I mean obviously I don’t know the guy personally, but he’s one of the most transparent people in Hollywood when it comes to communicating with his fans and the world… he always has been. Most actors and directors will tell you that they would never go on the internet and listen to what the fans have to say, directly, or converse with them on a more personal level, yet Smith has been doing that since almost the beginning by frequenting his own message boards as well as the message boards of more popular movie sites. He did get frustrated with the whole idea for a while, but it seems like the he’s started to embrace it a lot more with the advent of Twitter and his SModcasts. So I’m pretty sure when Smith tells his side of the story he’s telling it how it is. I mean the guy told the story about how he sat on a public toilet and broke it off the wall for christ sake… I don’t think he’d lie about getting kicked off a plane just for the publicity cause he’s got a new movie coming out.
Speaking of which, that’s another thing, people keep saying that it’s quite convenient that this is all happening 2 weeks before his latest movie is set to be released, but let me ask you this, before this whole thing did you even know that COP OUT was a Kevin Smith movie? I bet you didn’t because his name is nowhere in any of the promotional material, he’s not trying to use his name to sell the movie. Alright, I’m going to end this here, I don’t want to come off as a Smith fanboy who defends his every move, but I did want to touch on the fact that I think what Southwest did was completely wrong and that it’s great that it happened to be Kevin Smith who got booted from the plane because he has the means and the voice to bring this problem to the masses.
So while I do agree with the idea of making sure all of your customers are comfortable on a flight, I think it’s ridiculous that if you pass said fatty tests you still get booted from the plane, but listen to Smith’s version of it over at www.smodcast.com and then form your own judgement, don’t get the story from other media outlets like TMZ or even Southwest, listen to it straight from the horses mouth.