A Black doctor spoke out after she said American Airlines humiliated her in front of her son and body shamed her for wearing a romper on a flight from Jamaica to Florida.
Dr. Latisha “Tisha” Rowe, who is from Houston, took a family vacation to Kingston with her 8-year-old son. Rowe, who is a family-medicine specialist and the founder of a telehealth company, said she and her son had just boarded their flight from Kingston to Miami when a flight attendant asked her to deplane for a private conversation.
In a tweet, Rowe said the attendant said her romper was inappropriate and asked if Rowe had a jacket or coat. When Rowe explained she didn’t have anything to cover herself with, the flight attendant said she would not be allowed back on the plane unless she changed. In the end, the flight crew gave her a blanket to wear and Rowe walked back to her seat “humiliated.”
Rowe posted a photo of the outfit she was wearing at the time of the incident.
Rowe checked her outfit in the mirror before she even left for the day.
“I turned, and I looked at my backside, and I kind of gave myself that, you know, girl check,” she told Business Insider. “Growing up, I lived in a very conservative household. Like, if my dad thought my shorts were too short, I was not leaving the house. So that’s just something that I’ve gotten into the habit of doing.”
Rowe believes there was nothing inappropriate about her outfit and that she was the victim of hypersexualization of Black women’s bodies.
“I have a very curvaceous body, and I put my body in bold colors, so you’re going to see it. But it’s not vulgar. It’s not inappropriate. It’s not bad, you know? If you put someone who’s a size 2 in the exact same outfit next to me, no one would be bothered,” she said.
According to Rowe, when she returned to her seat, she noticed her son was embarrassed and holding back tears.
“My automatic mommy protective mode started. I’m like, ‘how do I fix it?’ I don’t want to be in this situation. I just, I want this done,” she said.
The American Airlines’ contract of carriage does state that passengers must dress in appropriate attire for all flights, but the contract does not list prohibited clothing.
A statement from American Airlines spokesperson Shannon Gilson said the airline is investigating why Rowe was asked to cover up.
“We were concerned about Dr. Rowe’s comments, and reached out to her and our team at the Kingston airport to gather more information about what occurred. Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to reach Dr. Rowe or leave a message at the number provided. We want to personally apologize to Dr. Rowe and her son for their experience, and have fully refunded their travel. We are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds and are committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us,” the statement read.
Since Rowe’s story went viral, others on social media have shown their support for her.