AnnaLynne McCord said she was left “absolutely broken hearted” after witnessing two gay men and their daughters receive discriminatory treatment at an airport.
On Saturday, the 30-year-old “Nip/Tuck” and “90210” actress posted a photograph of the family on both Instagram and Twitter, along with an open letter to Southwest Airlines. In the letter, McCord claimed she’d seen Southwest employees deny the men family boarding privileges because they are a same-sex couple.
“Love is what these wonderful little girls have for their dads. Love does not separate, it unites,” she wrote. “I implore you, as a company that seeks to provide a happy experience for all of its customers, to hire individuals who despise hate, not love; who embrace difference, not look down on it.”
Though McCord did not specify where the alleged incident took place, she identified the men involved in the incident as her “very close friends,” Jake and Dave, in a comment below her initial post on Instagram.
Fans were quick to support McCord for speaking out. As of Monday afternoon, her Instagram post had received over 4,900 likes, while the subsequent tweet had been retweeted over 1,200 times. “How dare anyone say they are not a family. Thank you for continuing to make a difference and do the right thing to help others,” one person wrote. Added another, “The world needs less haters and more people like you who only want to do good and spread love!”
A representative for the Texas-based airline told HuffPost they were unaware of any formal complaints regarding the family’s treatment, but noted they “regret any less than positive travel experience” the passengers may have had.
“We don’t have any existing reports associated with the Customers’ travel experience but we have contacted the Employees involved for an internal review of what happened,” the spokeswoman said. “Our Customer Care Team reached out directly to the Customer and has not received a response. Our Employees work to carry out our Boarding policy for families traveling together, while also maintaining boarding priorities for all Customers.”
She went on to note, “We welcome onboard more than 115 million customers each year and Southwest neither condones nor tolerates discrimination of any kind.”
It’s the second time this year that Southwest Airlines has been hit with anti-LGBTQ discrimination claims. In May, Grant Morse and Samuel Ballachino said they were denied the company’s family boarding option on a flight because they are gay. The men had been traveling from Buffalo, New York to Fort Lauderdale, Florida with their three children and the children’s grandmother.
A spokesperson for the airline denied the claims at the time, telling HuffPost the men had been declined only because Ballachino’s 83-year-old mother required special assistance while boarding.