Backers of the Satanic Temple are raising hell after American Airlines forced a Florida woman to change out of a shirt proclaiming “Hail Satan,” threatening to remove her from the flight over its “offensive” message.
Key West resident Swati Runi Goyal was awaiting takeoff aboard a flight headed for Las Vegas on the day before Halloween – known in some regions as “Devil’s Night” – when an American Airlines crew member approached her demanding an immediate wardrobe change.
“The gentleman asked me if I understood what ‘offensive’ meant,” Goyal told the New York Post. “I said, ‘I’m a foreign-born minority woman. I know what my T-shirt means and my T-shirt is not offensive.’”
In addition to its salute to Satan, the shirt also featured an inverted cross and the words “Est. 666,” which the airline employee interpreted as breaking the company’s policy banning “offensive clothing.” Faced with the choice of changing the shirt or being booted from her flight, which was already delayed by the dispute, Goyal ultimately gave in, but she insists she was the victim of discrimination.
“I’m really trying to make some good deeds come out of this. This is really about religious discrimination,” she said. “Because they treated me this way, I can only imagine how they’re treating other religious groups like Muslims.”
Goyal, who says she is both an atheist and an active supporter of the Satanic Temple, decided to share her experience online on Friday after American Airlines “failed to investigate” the encounter, despite her filing a complaint. The airline changed its tune, however, after the story was first reported by Buzzfeed, reaching out to Goyal with an apology on Twitter.
“Discrimination has no place at American Airlines. Please meet us in DMs with your record locator and contact info,” the company said in a tweet, adding “We’ll take a closer look at this and get back in touch.” Goyal has since set her Twitter account to private in response to outrage from conservatives, who she said “are not happy.”
With its name in the headlines, the Satanic Temple did not miss out on the marketing opportunity, advertising its unholy merch while it had Twitter’s attention, even sliding into American Airlines’ mentions.
Outraged by the treatment of their fellow worshipper, followers of the Temple came out in force online to protest the incident, some encouraging Goyal to sue the airline for religious intolerance.
I’d sue every member of that crew. Disgusting discrimination.
— Mrs. Krampus (@TheTwilaZone) December 6, 2019
Freedom of religion is in the Constitution, she should sue.
— RS.Eberhardt (@Door212) December 6, 2019
“Wow! Are they asking people to take off their crucifix jewelry too?” another surprised user asked, pointing to potential double standards in the airlines’ policies.
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