A woman who wore a “Hail Satan” T-shirt onto an American Airlines flight was told by crew members to change her shirt or get off the plane. She did eventually cover up the shirt, but not before trying unsuccessfully to play the race/gender.
She has, however, been offered a refund on her tickets now that the story has been in the press.
Buzzfeed News reports that Swati Runi Goyal, 49, had boarded a flight from Florida to Nevada on Oct. 30th when a crew member asked her to follow him to the front of the plane. She was told she had to either change her shirt or leave the aircraft.
Buzzfeed reported that Goyal is not a Satan worshipper, despite being a member of the Satanic Temple, a curiously-named atheist organization that is about separation of church and state and not the worship of Satan.
Satan, as usual, was not available for comment.
“It’s an ironic shirt,” Goyal claimed. “People usually laugh at it, or they give me a thumbs up because they understand the meaning behind it.” Goyal later said that the crew did not find her shirt amusing. “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.”
Goyal and her husband refused to deplane, and she quickly resorted to pointing out her gender and race. “I said, ‘I’m a foreign-born minority woman, I understand ‘offensive,’ and this shirt is not offensive.’”
The crew delayed takeoff until the woman would either take off the shirt or deplane. Eventually, her husband lent her one of his layers and the crew allowed them to remain. She said the crew avoided eye contact with her for the rest of the flight and did not serve her from the drink cart.
It was only when Goyal tweeted about the situation that American Airlines apologized. “Discrimination has no place at American Airlines,” the company replied on Twitter, adding that it would investigate further. Goyal told Buzzfeed News that she was eventually offered a refund on both tickets and told that an investigation was ongoing.