Southwest is the latest airline to find themselves in the middle of a public relations fiasco, as one employee refused to let a White woman board her flight because they didn’t believe her biracial son was hers.
UC Berkeley women’s basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb claims a desk agent stopped her from boarding her Denver to Oakland flight Sunday, saying she “had to ‘prove’ that he was my son, despite having his passport,” she shared via Twitter. “She said because we have different last name. My guess is because he has a different skin color.” Gottlieb is engaged to her child’s father, Patrick Martin, who is Black.
— Lindsay Gottlieb (@CalCoachG) May 26, 2018
“We have reached out to Ms. Gottlieb directly to address her concerns and will utilize the situation as a coaching opportunity for our employee,” Southwest said in a statement. “We apologize if our interaction made this family uncomfortable — that is never our intention.”
Gottlieb later said she appreciated the apology.
“I felt that in this situation it was my responsibility to say ‘Hey, this isn’t ok.’ I hope the coverage this has received can serve as a learning opportunity and that all families — regardless of how ‘traditional’ they may or may not look — are treated with dignity and respect.”
Gottlieb, Martin and their child was eventually allowed to board their flight.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.