A 65-year-old white man in electric-blue women’s underwear, black stockings and shoes flew unchallenged on aflight days after a 20-year-old black college student was pulled off and arrested after wearing saggy pants.
“The root of the matter is, if you don’t comply with the captain’s requests,” airline spokeswoman Valerie Wunder told the San Francisco Chronicle, “the captain has the right to handle the issue because it’s one of safety.”
Joe O’Sullivan, lawyer for University of New Mexico student Deshon Marman, called it discrimination.
“It just shows the hypocrisy involved. They let a drag queen board a flight. My client was asked to pull up his pajama pants because they hung below his waist.”
The older man, a business consultant and frequent flyer, said he was just having fun, the Chronicle reported Thursday.
“As long as my dress is not indecent and the airline does not object, I have the right to wear what I wear,” the white-haired man said. He’s been cross-dressing on US Airways, where he is a preferred customer, for several years.
The Phoenix man asked to stay anonymous – “I have a lot at stake here. I would be extremely vulnerable to being discredited” – and was surprised the picture he posed for was circulating on the Internet.
Jill Tarlow, 40, snapped her fellow passenger at Fort Lauderdale airport before they boarded the June 9 flight to Phoenix. Some passengers did object, but airline employees ignored them.
A fellow passenger of Marman on the San Francisco-Albuquerque flight June 15 filmed a video of the university football player being confronted in his seat by airline crew.
“I have addressed the problem,” Marman, of San Francisco, tells the crew when they try to remove him. “I am sitting down. This is unnecessary, sir.”
Marman spent two nights at the San Mateo County Jail before being arraigned on suspicion of trespass and battery charges and released on bail.
His seatmate, who shot the video, said Marman’s pants hung to mid-thigh, exposing skin-tight black underwear, but he did pull them up.
“We don’t have a dress-code policy,” Wunder told the Chronicle. “These are two different stories. One of these men refused to comply with the pilot’s request.”
San Francisco police said the pilot on Marman’s flight “made a citizen’s arrest.”