Weeks after an incident that ended up with her being kicked off of a flight from Miami, Women's March Co-Chair and civil rights activist Tamika Mallory has met with the CEO of American Airlines.
Mallory and other national civil rights leaders met with American Airlines CEO Doug Parker on Tuesday (Oct. 31). Participants of the meeting included NAACP President Derrick Johnson, Melanie Campbell, the president of National Coalition of Black Civic Participation and the convener of the Black Women's Roundtable, activist/rapper Mysonne Linen, and Attorney Royce Russell, who represents Linen and Mallory.
"This is a first meeting of a series and resolution will come from implementation of our recommendations," Mallory said in a statement. "There is a clear problem at American Airlines as evidenced by the videos and emails sent to me, particularly from women of color, that had been removed from planes and blatantly discriminated against. We hope that American Airlines will become a leader in setting industry standards that protect the rights of all people and provide one level of service for all passengers."
The meeting follows news last week (Oct. 24) of the NAACP issuing a travel advisory for black customers of American Airlines. The historic civil rights organization alerted travelers "to exercise caution, in that booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions," and said the company may have "a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias."
Tamika Mallory told REVOLT TV that she was unjustly kicked off of an American Airlines plane before it took off on Sunday, Oct. 15, flying her back to New York City after she attended the REVOLT Music Conference in Miami, Fla. Mallory said she used an airport kiosk to change her seat from a middle seat to an aisle seat, because she suffers from claustrophobia. But when she got to the gate of her flight, the gate agent didn't honor her seat. After getting into a dispute with the agent, and responding to the pilot's requests for her to "behave," Mallory said she was allowed on the plane - only to be kicked off after peacefully sitting in her seat for 15 minutes. As a result of being kicked off the plane, Mallory missed the wedding of Al Sharpton's daughter.
A spokesman for American Airlines has said that they apologized for the mishandling of Mallory's seat, but said that the company "does not tolerate discrimination of any kind." He said that Mallory was kicked off the flight "to de-escalate a situation onboard the aircraft."
Mallory spoke about her incident on social media, prompting other people of color to share what they felt were instances of racial discrimination and mistreatment. Symone Sanders, a CNN commentator and former press secretary for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, made a video explaining her own incident. Briana Williams, a Harvard Law student, told NY Daily News that she was kicked off of a flight with her infant child after asking for her stroller to be returned during a delay - forcing her and her baby had to spend the night in the airport.
NAACP referenced several incidents in their advisory, with Johnson stating, "The growing list of incidents suggesting racial bias reflects an unacceptable corporate culture and involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random."
Stay tuned to REVOLT TV for continued updates on this story and on Mallory's meeting with American Airlines.