AnnaLynne McCord, the 30-year-old actress who played the manipulative yet sensitive character of Naomi Clark in the CW show 90210, posted an open-letter on social media this last Friday, accusing Southwest Airlines of refusing to let a male same-sex couple and their children board the plane during “family boarding time.”
Her letter began by asking: “Have you ever felt bullied? Have you ever picked on?… A couple of days ago, the young girls in this photo were made to feel just that by individuals who wear your logo and represent their company.”
According to McCord, the children were with their fathers on their first ever flight. She doesn’t name the family, but the press has identified them as Jacob Lapp and David Forstadt and claims that they were traveling to New York. Southwest Airline’s family boarding time allows any parents with children under the age of six to board before the rest of the plane’s passengers.
McCord’s letter concludes:
“Why would your company representatives (the desk agents boarding the plane on behalf of your corporation) believe that it is okay to reject these little girls’ love for their fathers, making them feel that they are not good enough? That their family should be left out? Is that not a form of bullying? Is that not a form of hate? I certainly wouldn’t call it love.
I implore you, as a company that seeks to provide a happy experience for all of its customers, to hire individuals who despise hare, not love, who embraced difference, not look down on it.”
Rhetorically, it’s interesting that McCord focuses on the emotional impact of discrimination on the young girls rather than focusing on the same-sex couple. It’s a much more compelling argument partially because it inverts the usual, argument of homosexuality harming kids” instead showing how anti-LGBTQ discrimination harms young people too.
This is the second time this year that Southwest Airlines has been accused of denying the “family” designation for a family with two dads. So far, Southwest Airlines says that the family has not yet reached out to the company. However, the airlines also said:
“We have contacted the employees involved for an internal review of what happened… Southwest neither condones nor tolerates discrimination of any kind. A cursory view of our workforce and our expansive, multicultural customer base whose loyalism brings them back to Southwest is an endorsement and reliable indicator that we exalt, appreciate and celebrate diversity.”
McCord has a history of activism against sexual-assault, domestic abuse and human trafficking.