College Student Kicked Off Flight for Wearing Profanity on T-Shirt, Refusing Alternatives

PodolskyST. LOUIS, Mo. — A New York college student was recently kicked off a flight back home after he wore a t-shirt bearing profanity and refused multiple options to cover the wording.

Daniel Podolsky sought to fly home from the “South by Southwest” film and music festival late last month, where he had obtained a free t-shirt to promote the Comedy Central show “Broad City.” He boarded a plane from Dallas to Chicago, and at the time was wearing a jacket over the t-shirt, which included an expletive completely spelled out and in large letters.

However, the plane had to make an unscheduled landing in St. Louis due to inclement weather in Chicago. As Podolsky planned to use the restroom at the airport, he took off his jacket.

At this time, a Southwest Airlines employee noticed Podolsky’s shirt and approached him about the matter. Podolsky told reporters that he was quickly pulled off the flight without an opportunity to change.

“Did they give you any opportunity to put your jacket back on, to change the shirt [or] put it inside out?” a reporter with local television station KTVI asked him.

“It just happened so fast,” Podolsky responded. “Within 30 seconds the flight was already gone. I would have gladly done so.”

However, video footage that the college student provided showed a different story, as Podolsky refused the multiple alternatives offered, citing his “freedom of speech.”

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“Can you change the shirt?” the Southwest employee asked.

“No,” Podolsky replied.

“Can you put the jacket on and leave it on through the flight?” the male worker inquired.

Podolsky again refused, so a third option was offered.

“Can you put the shirt on inside out?”

“Nope,” he responded.

The employee then warned Podolsky that unless he did something to cover up the word, he would not be able to board the flight.

“Is there anything you can do not to display the shirt because at this point we can’t allow you to go,” the worker pleads.

“I have freedom of speech,” Podolsky responded.

As the Southwest employee advised that it is the company policy not to allow offensive sayings on shirts, Podolsky asked if a poll could be taken over the matter.

The college student then missed his flight. He was later allowed to board a different flight after he finally agreed to change his shirt.

Podolsky states that he doesn’t believe that his shirt should have been an issue.

“There are more than a hundred people on the plane trying to get to Chicago and the most important thing is my shirt?” he told reporters. “How does that work? Where’s the sense of priority?”

But Southwest Airlines stands by its decision to request Podolsky to cover the wording.

“We rely on our employees and customers to use common sense and good judgment,” spokesman Dan Landson commented in a statement.

In the 1872 book “The Abominations of Modern Society,” T. De Witt Talmadge, a pastor, lamented about the use of profanity during his time.

“There is today in all our land no more prevalent custom, and no more God-defying abomination, than profane swearing. You can hardly walk our streets five minutes without having your ears stung and your sensibilities shocked,” he wrote. “This whole country is blasted with the evil.”


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  • uzza

    Seriously? You use a book written in 1872 to talk about “modern society”?

  • http://www.locomotivebreath1901.blogspot.com/ locomotivebreath1901

    “There are more than a hundred people on the plane trying to get to
    Chicago and the most important thing is my shirt?” he told reporters.
    “How does that work? Where’s the sense of priority?”

    Uh, in the arena of being considerate and kind to those hundred other people who don’t want your profanity shoved into their faces. Now, grow up, little boy.

  • Frank

    There are tons of little kids on that flight that shouldn’t be exposed to your t-shirt.

    • http://www.google.com/ Jan van Niekerk

      This is indeed possible: supposing just 37 impressionable 12 year olds at 55kg each, that would be just over 2 metric tonnes. If you want imperial tonnes, you can do the calculation yourself.

  • Maranatha2011

    Thank the Lord someone out there still has some standards of decency. Let the pea brain walk.

  • timetorun

    thank God for people who are willing to do what is right in God’s eyes.

  • Bolvon72

    Another person that absolutely misunderstands how the constitution protects speech. On the other hand, I still don’t get the offense over a few little words.

  • Anita Stover Blackmon

    If you carried a bag of garbage on board clearly marked “my garbabage” woyld you want them on your flight? Same thing…..visual garbage!!!

  • FoJC_Forever

    I think it’s a bit overboard, no pun intended, to remove a passenger over some words on a shirt. I don’t agree with wearing “profanity” laced shirts, but I’m also not a person who can’t simply look away.

    Hopefully we will never be required to actually wear a specific shirt with words on it with which we disagree. Now that would be a violation of rights.

  • uzza

    How is this an issue for Christians? There is nothing in the Ten Commandments barring the words on his shirt.

    • http://www.google.com/ Jan van Niekerk

      The third commandment specifically addresses the use of language: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” The 7th specifically addresses adultery, the subject of this profanity. Normal people can make the connection.

      The manner in which the wearer indulged his flesh and was graciously called to order is indeed of interest to Christians, in a climate where restraining sin is vilified as a great evil.

      • uzza

        That’s just it. To equate the ‘f-bomb’ with taking the Lord’s name in vain sounds downright blasphemous. Adultery has nothing to do with it, and “indulged his flesh”–what? This doesn’t make sense.

        • http://www.google.com/ Jan van Niekerk

          In normal conversation, when someone replies to your statement, you would consider the implications of what they said against your own statement, before raising additional questions.

          • uzza

            Until their objection either supports one’s own point, or is completely unrelated to it, or makes no sense at all; then one asks for clarification.

          • http://www.google.com/ Jan van Niekerk

            You claimed that the commandments do not bar the offending shirt. I explained how they do: they address both inappropriate language and the inappropriate sex.
            As to not understanding: Jesus spoke in parables to the normal people of the crowds. He explained privately to his disciples, but you say you are not one of them. This leaves you “ever hearing but never understanding”, and hardening your heart. Perhaps you will blame the poor communication skills of others.

  • Magister_militum_praesentalis

    I wonder if Mr. Podolsky is the offspring of Red-Diaper Doper Baby parents…

  • UmustBKiddinMe

    Businesses are free to set dress codes as long as they are uniformly applied. I just don’t get how people could have so little thought for others that they would wear a shirt with that word out in public.

  • Paul Hiett

    Stupid is as stupid does. Freedom of speech does not spill over into the private business sector.

    Kid should have done a little research.

  • antonio

    real stupid little Fuc …….rrrrrrrrrr

  • http://GREATSITE.COM/ John Lawton Jeffcoat III

    The main issue regarding this man’s behavior is being ignored.
    He told reporters that he “would have gladly changed his shirt if he had been given the opportunity, but within 30 seconds the flight was gone”. Then, we see video footage of him being asked many times to change or cover his shirt, and we see him stubbornly refusing and citing some “free speech” claim.
    So regardless of how you feel about whether or not he should be able to wear a profanity-covered shirt in a tightly-confined environment where fellow passengers cannot escape his profanity… there is another issue: HE IS A LIAR.
    He told bold-faced lies to the media about how the mean airline people refused to allow him to board in spite of his willingness to comply… while in truth, he was given many opportunities to comply and arrogantly refused them all.
    The airline should now file a SLANDER / LIBEL suit against him for his false claims regarding their professional handling of this situation, and he should be made to pay them a large sum of money for slandering their name falsely.