Whitney Way Thore Defends Friend Who Was Fat-Shamed on a Plane: 'Harassing' Behavior Should Not Be Tolerated
Whitney Way Thore has no time for body shamers.
After her friend was fat-shamed by a fellow passenger on an American Airlines flight on Thursday, the My Big Fat Fabulous Life star took to Twitter to address the issue with the airline.
“@AmericanAir This is happening on Flight 937, DFW to LAX, Seats 11B & 11A,” she tweeted, attaching a screenshot of a post shared by her pal and fellow body positive activist Natalie Hage detailing the incident. “What’s your harassment policy?”
The airline’s official Twitter account asked Thore, 33, to direct message them and explain what occurred. Thore then shared screenshots of the exchange, noting that American Airlines is “not at fault” but has the opportunity “to do the right thing.”
“My friend Natalie Hage is on flight 937 from DFW to LAX,” she wrote. “The man seated next to her in the window seat has been making her extremely uncomfortable due to her size — although she is fully in her seat with the arm rest down. She even saw him texting foul things about her and has photos of it.”
“I advised her to speak to a flight attendant but as someone with flight anxiety, this is hard for her,” continued Thore. “This is unfortunately what fat people experience daily in the air otherwise, and I would love for AA (I fly you all the time, too) to handle this situation appropriately, even if that means checking on Natalie and asking the man next to her to move.”
“Behavior like this that is harassing to other customers should simply not go unnoticed or be tolerated,” she added.
According to Hage, who paid $70 for extra leg room, the man sitting next to her began “LOUDLY huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat” as soon as she sat down.
“I see him furiously texting and then purposefully turning the phone away from me,” she explained. “So, naturally next time he texts, I take a look. The texts were about me and I’m almost positive he took photos of me.”
“If you can’t read the texts, it says ‘hopefully she didn’t have any mexican food’ and his response is ‘i think she ate a mexican.’ ”
“This is a fat person’s daily reality and not just on a plane,” continued Hage. “This is on a bus, standing in line at the grocery store, at a concert, on the internet. You can be completely in your own space, not bothering anyone, and people will still f— with you and try to hurt you. All you can do is know you haven’t done anything wrong just by existing and to move on. This just makes me a mixture of enraged and super sad.”
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American Airlines thanked Thore for bringing the issue to their attention and confirmed that they were working with Hage directly in order to help.
“Thank you, @AmericanAir,” tweeted Thore. “No one deserves to be harassed, photographed or asked to move because the person next to them is fatphobic!”