Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Broad Fucking City" Shirt Gets College Student Ejected From St. Louis Flight

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge Don't bring F-bombs on planes, folks. - FOX 2
  • Fox 2
  • Don't bring F-bombs on planes, folks.

There are certain things that Southwest Airlines just won't tolerate. We already know the list includes saggy pants, making out with your girlfriend, and Kevin Smith, but as 22-year-old Daniel Podolsky learned Monday, another item is the word "fuck."

Podolsky wore a T-shirt which displayed the words "Broad Fucking City" on his flight, and it was apparently too vulgar for Southwest's friendly skies.

It all started when bad weather in Chicago caused Podolsky's flight from Dallas to make a stop in St. Louis, and he says he took advantage of the delay to walk around the Lambert terminal and use the bathroom. He had been wearing a jacket over the T-shirt during the flight, but he removed it to cool off as he left the plane.

That's when a Southwest agent at the gate spotted the shirt. Podolsky says the agent approached him, poked him in the chest and said, "'You can't be wearing that."

See also: "L-Word" Star Allegedly Kicked Off Flight In St. Louis for Same-Sex Kiss

click to enlarge Podolsky, shown here wearing the "Broad Fucking City" shirt at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. - COURTESY OF DANIEL PODOLSKY
  • Courtesy of Daniel Podolsky
  • Podolsky, shown here wearing the "Broad Fucking City" shirt at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.

Podolsky was flying back from Austin's raucous film and music festival South by Southwest, where and he and hundreds of others were given the "Broad Fucking City" shirts as promotion for the Comedy Central show Broad City (and they're currently on sale at the Comedy Central gift shop!).

"I was just kind of startled," says Podolsky, an engineering and mathematics student at Stony Brook University in New York. "It was the first time anyone said anything like that."

Podolsky put his jacket back on and walked around the terminal for about 90 minutes before returning to the gate. When he got back to his seat on the plane, he took the jacket off again. A flight attendant then asked him to remove the shirt.

The resulting confrontation between Podolsky and a Southwest agent ended in his ejection. Podolsky filmed the exchange, but the video was later removed from Facebook and YouTube. Here's a transcript:

Southwest agent: Can you change the shirt?

Podolsky: Nope.

Southwest agent: Can you put the jacket on and leave it on through the flight?

Podolsky: [Inaudible]

Southwest agent: Can you put the shirt on inside out?

Podolsky : Nope.

Southwest agent: Is there anything you can do not to display the shirt because at this point we can't allow you to go.

Podolsky: I have freedom of speech.

Southwest agent: I know you do...

Podolsky: Really, it's not bothering anyone.

Southwest agent: I can show you in our contract of carriage that you can't wear any shirts that says offensive...

Podolsky: Can we take a poll?

Ultimately, Podolsky was ejected from the flight.

As he left the plane, Podolsky also confronted the original gate agent, the one who had first told him to take the shirt off. Airport security escorted Podolsky from the gate, and soon after he called KTVI-TV (Channel 2).

"I lost my cool," says Podolsky. "Contrary to what I said on the video, this isn't about the First Amendment. I just wanted to be able to mind my own business and be comfortable in my own clothing."

Podolsky was allowed to board later flight back home to New York, although he had to change his shirt.

While Southwest may have bested Podolsky's small-scale rebellion against censorship, the college student may still have the last laugh. Today, he launched a website to sell T-shirts commemorating his stand against puritanical airline dress codes.

The shirts will display the words "South Fucking West."

Still, now that viral newsmakers BuzzFeed, Huffington Post and others have picked up the story, Podolsky tells Daily RFT he has had a chance to reflect on the fashion choice that got him kicked off his flight to Chicago.

"I regret not choosing a different T-shirt at the start of the day, but once I had the T-shirt on, I would have hoped people could have moved on," he says. "It delayed an already delayed flight. I regret causing an inconvenience to the other passengers."

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com

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