Tuesday, March 9, 2010
KEVIN SMITH TOO FAT TO FLY
No publicity's bad publicity, right? Right. Unless you're Kevin Smith. On a February 13, Southwest Airlines flight home from Oakland to Burbank, the writer/director had his flight status upgraded from just-another-irritable-customer to a full-blown "safety concern." Flabbergasted, Smith was removed from the plane. And in response, from the cockpit of his Twitter account, he waged war on his would-be accusers.
"I’ve had much of my humanity stripped away over the last week, as people discuss me as a concept more than a person."
The story goes: Smith buys two seats for both February 13 flights. On his way home to Burbank, he gets to the airport early and catches a standby flight. But the new return flight doesn't have two available seats next to each other. Still, Smith is offered a seat on the flight, checked in, boarded and allowed to stow his bag. But then..
According to Smith, he got into the seat just fine - no seat belt extender necessary; both arm rests down no problem. And the reason he usually buys two seats? He's anti-social (but not anti-social networking). And, again according to Smith, neither of the passengers on either side of him complained about his size. Still, soon after he sat down, a flight attendant came over and told Smith he was going to have to leave the plane. He was too fat for one seat. A super-sized safety concern. Or what Southwest Airlines like to refer to as a, "customer of size." What size?
"I'm way fat but I'm not there just yet. So if you look like me, you may be ejected from Southwest Air."
Smith didn't waste any time firing off hundreds of anti-Southwest Tweets, uploading shitloads of YouTube videos (SModcast.com) and telling anyone that would listen what, exactly, is wrong with Southwest Airlines.
In response, Southwest offered Smith an apology on their blog, Nuts About Southwest, sarcastically titled, 'Not So Silent Bob.' But Smith wasn't happy. On his website, My Boring Ass Life, Smith accused Southwest of lying, covering up information, not being able to own up to their mistakes and of publishing his travel preferences without his permission.
"Fuck your apologetic $100 voucher"
Opinions are divided: from shame-on-you-Southwest-Airlines-you-corporate-assholes, to "Salad, meet-Kevin-Smith. Kevin-Smith, meet-salad." Writing for Chicago's Sun-Times, Laura Washington called Smith an obscure star looking for a bit of free publicity for his new movie, Cop Out: "I had never heard of the guy. I suspect I am not alone (his obscurity is probably one motive behind his headline-hungry rants)." Now that's pushing it. Kevin Smith may have flopped lately but how can you call yourself a worthwhile member of the 21st Century and not have seen classics like Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma? That's just embarrassing.
Smith's response: "Free Publicity = 200 new articles declaring I'm fat. Yay me. Epic win" (Twitter).
Sure, nobody wants an obese stranger spilling over into their seat. But it's a short flight from Oakland to Burbank and besides, I've flown with dudes bigger than Kevin Smith before. Smith's problem is he whines too much anyway. Like, just look how long his response is on his website. Who's going to read all that? It doesn't matter who's wrong or right, that's just irritating. And why does he have to upload 24 videos on YouTube? Why did he appear in Daredevil? Why can't he make a decent movie anymore?
To me, it sounds like the kind of thing that happens all the time. Shit, it probably even gets Tweeted about, blogged on and YouTubed over all the time. Only by nerds without 1.6 million dedicated subscribers - that's why Southwest didn't write you an apology blog...
"Someone sent me a piece from the Forbes website that said, with this whole Southwest Air thing, I’ve hurt my own brand more than theirs. So a number-cruncher at Forbes sees me as a brand, not a human being. Dude’s obviously angling for a job at Southwest" - Kevin Smith.