Journalist Kicked Off Flight for Wearing ‘Black Panther’ Hat, Upside-Down Flag Tee

By Sameer Rao Oct 13, 2016

Apparently, wearing a hat that reads "Black Panther" can get you kicked off a plane.

That’s what journalist Amanda Stevens described when she tweeted an experience yesterday (October 12) after boarding an United Airlines flight. Stevens said that her baseball cap depicting the Marvel superhero and a t-shirt with an upside-down American flag—a PacSun collaboration with rapper A$AP Rocky that was removed from stores after controversy last year—made the pilot "uncomfortable" and resulted in her removal from a flight:


Stevens later clarified the chain of events with an io9 reporter, saying that while her outfit raised alarm, she was kicked off following an exchange with a flight crew member:  

Reached by phone, Stevens told io9 that a United representative first raised concerns when she was preparing to board flight 5183 from Albany to Chicago. Stevens told me that she’s flown in this outfit before, but turned the shirt inside out. She was then told that the hat was a concern as well. She was allowed to board the plane, but had a tense exchange with an attendant who asked her to place her bag under the seat in front of her. "I didn’t know if I was going to be staying on the plane or not and I said that," she told me. "I was grumbling because I was frustrated."

Stevens then told me that the exchange with the flight attendant was given as the reason that she was ejected from the flight. Stevens says that she received a direct message from the official United account on Twitter and returned to the service counter at the gate under the assumption that she’d be getting booked on the next flight. However, the United employees that Stevens was dealing with retreated to an employees-only area and Stevens told me that she’s been waiting with no acknowledgment for more than two hours.

io9’s published the above in an update to its original report, which was timestamped at 3:53 p.m.; Stevens tweeted almost two hours later that she was on another flight. 

United tweeted at Stevens in the middle of the ordeal, asking her to direct message information about the flight. The airline later emailed a statement to io9 and other media outlets: 

We are in contact with Ms. Stevens to discuss this matter further. Both United and SkyWest hold our employees to the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for discrimination.

(H/t Pitchfork)