Kevin Smith, Southwest, and the media

There are already lots of good blog posts about Kevin Smith’s fight with Southwest Airlines, and many of the good points have already been made.  Here are a few of my own:

1. The major media have uniformly adopted SWA’s version of the story, that Kevin was taking up more than one seat, and needed to be removed from a full flight for safety reasons.  Kevin has disputed these points, in various forms (tweet, blog, audio, and now video), but news outlets haven’t aired his side.

2. Kevin’s approach, using tweets, lengthy podcasts, a couple of blog posts, and now vlogs, is great for entertaining his loyal fans such as myself, but it isn’t allowing him to control the story.  His podcast (#106 on does contain very complete information (except for what occurred after its recording).  It conveys his spirit, intellect, and heart.  But it’s easier for reporters to go to SWA’s blog site and grab their version than to listen to Kevin’s 87-minute podcast for choice bits. Kevin’s vlogs are an attempt to chop his story into bite-sized pieces, but since they are as rambling as his podcasts, each vlog contains only a tiny piece of the story. 

3. Southwest has posted two mutually inconsistent apologies on their blog, plus called Kevin Monday night (2/15) with the real story, which it turns out had nothing to do with Kevin’s size at all!  But again, the major media haven’t picked this up.

4. I think a more disciplined approach would help Kevin.  He should make an outline of the points he wants to make, and include facts to support each of his points.  Then, do one vlog per point, making his case concisely yet completely. Kevin is a master of words, and he should be applying his skills better, rather than shooting from the hip.

5. When Kevin was finally on the plane that would take him home Saturday night (2/13), an SWA employee told a fellow passenger (Natali, according to a recent tweet) that she needed to think about buying two seats in the future for the comfort of her fellow passengers.  But, in fact, Natali was sitting next to the empty seat that Kevin had bought, so this speech to a paying customer was entirely unneeded.  (And trust me, she didn’t need to be told that she was fat; we fatties know it already.)  Kevin was touched by that story, and it is a tragedy that, as with so much else regarding this story, this hasn’t been picked up by the major media.

Final thought.  I am, and have been for years, a fan of Kevin Smith, for his work, his humor, and frankly, for being a cool fat guy.  And it always bugged me that he buys into the standard narrative about fatties.  While it’s clear that that hasn’t changed much, he has taken a small step for fat acceptance by putting Southwest’s policy in the spotlight.  May he take more.


4 thoughts on “Kevin Smith, Southwest, and the media

  1. conducted a media study among viewers of a news clip featuring Southwest Airlines’ decision to deny Kevin Smith a seat on a flight because he was larger than their size requirements. Results found that favorability for the airline decreased among both healthy-weight and over-weight viewers. Nearly one-third of viewers (32%) indicated that they were less likely to fly on Southwest Airlines due to this incident. More in depth results can be seen at:

    • Wow, Ben. “Healthy-weight” vs. “over-weight”??? Did you actually make readers self-identify as “healthy” or “over”? Or did you, as Southwest Airlines does, simply eyeball them? Did it occur to you that, based on the CDC’s research, those in the “overweight” category lived longest and were therefore, by at least some measures, “healthiest”?

      Sigh. One step forward, three steps back.

      • Thanks, Miriam. Ben drifted in from the non-accepting world, but I approved the comment because I thought it was interesting. You’re right; the terminology itself assumes facts not in evidence, and we should fight it.

  2. Pingback: A regular fat guy on Southwest | Fatties United!

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