Kevin Smith made headlines in 2010 over Southwest Airlines’ customer of size policy, vowing never to fly the airline again. He flew them again in 2011 and had another altercation over the policy. He boycotted the airline until 2016.
It turns out his confrontation with Southwest led to the making of the brand new Jay and Silent Bob Reboot that’s out today. He tweeted the experience of getting kicked off a plane. It became a frenzy, and started a national debate over larger passengers taking up too much room on planes versus airline seats not being big enough. And the whole thing took a huge emotional toll on Kevin Smith:
“It was pretty bad. And I remember sitting in my house for three days and I couldn’t do anything. I was crippled with fear, panic and anxiety because it was at the top of Google news for three days straight. Every day I’d wake up and there it was, more stories about me and the airline. I was so scared because I had never been at the epicenter of the Eye of Sauron like that. It was pretty horrendous. I didn’t think my life would ever be the same. It was as if for years I had been hiding as a fat person and then suddenly the truth was out, everybody knew. So it was three days of hell, sitting in my house.
The whole thing finally blew over when “Tiger Woods cheated on his wife and that became the top news story and suddenly everyone forgot that I was fat and everybody was talking about Tiger Woods and his wife instead.” That’s why Tiger Woods is one of Smith’s favorite athletes, because “people stopped talking about how fat I was and whether or not I should be allowed on a plane.”
- Because the experience of the media firestorm that followed getting kicked off a Southwest flight for his weight was so hard, he bought a bus to travel on.
- So he started doing Jay & Silent Bob tours.
- And the success of those tours led to the new movie.
“So this new movie, ‘Jay and Silent Bob Reboot’ — and how we’re touring it — I can draw a direct line back to the worst day of my life and Southwest Airlines.
“Ultimately when you talk about the worst thing that ever happened to you, it’s all a matter of perspective. Because in the moment, nothing was worse than that. But as I stand here years later I can tell you, oh, because of that all my dreams came true. Go figure.”
He’s been flying again of course, and Smith almost always wears a hockey jersey. So that’s what’s on his drivers license. And TSA document checkers make fun of him for it at the airport.
Naturally, I’m wearing one of my jerseys in my driver’s license photo. So whenever I have to produce identification at the airport, 4 times out of 10, the @TSA agent will look at my license, then stare at me for a second or two before saying “You’re still wearing the same shirt.” pic.twitter.com/uxLT6Hrch8
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) April 18, 2018
Here I am by the way after bumping into Kevin Smith at Bellagio in Las Vegas 13 years ago, six years before the Southwest incident.
On that stay I had slipped the check-in clerk $100 on a four night stay for an upgrade to a suite with five bathrooms. I was booked over a long weekend on a $129 American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts rate.