A burlesque dancer is accusing JetBlue of "slut shaming" after she was asked to change her clothes before boarding a flight from Boston to Seattle.
Maggie McMuffin (a stage name used by the passenger) says she was returning home on May 18 after several performances on the east coast when a JetBlue crew member told her that the outfit she was wearing wasn’t fit to fly.
"A few minutes before boarding was set to start, the gate lead approached me and said there was a problem and that what I was wearing was not appropriate," McMuffin told KING news. The dancer says she had been waiting in the boarding area for about 45 minutes before anyone approached her.
McMuffin was wearing a tiger sweater with striped black and white Daisy Dukes and thigh-highs—and she had already worn the same outfit on the first leg of her flight that day from New York to Boston, also on JetBlue.
She said the gate agent apologized then told her that what she "was wearing was not appropriate and the flight crew had discussed it and the pilot had decided that I needed to put something else on or I would not be allowed to board the flight.”
She explained that she didn’t have anything else with her—even suggesting she wrap her sweater around her legs or wear a blanket-- at which point she says the JetBlue crewmember suggested she go buy something. Instead of missing her flight, McMuffin ran through the airport terminal and purchased a $22 paid of pajama bottoms to cover up.
McMuffin says she feels “disrespected” and says that since the final decision is left up to the pilot, the policy is unfairly subjective. She told KOMO news that the incident is indicative of unfair treatment of women in a patriarchal society.
"I'd say body shaming and slut shaming more than outright sexism, but it is really hard to remove those two things from misogyny."
Since the incident, JetBlue has apologized to the burlesque dancer, reimbursed her for the cost of the pajama bottoms and offered her a $162 credit for a future flight.
A spokesperson for JetBlue released the following statement to KING 5:
"The gate and onboard crew discussed the customer's clothing and determined that the burlesque shorts may offend other families on the flight. While the customer was not denied boarding, the crew members politely asked if she could change. The customer agreed and continued on the flight without interruption. We support our crew members' discretion to make these difficult decisions."
But McMuffin says that in additional to a personal apology from the pilot, she wants JetBlue officials to analyze their own dress code and come up with a clearly stated policy for all airline passengers.
"It was a nice gesture," said McMuffin of the $162 offer. "But I don't really want to fly JetBlue again and they told me they couldn't give me a cash refund."