South Korean DJ ‘Forced To Take Off Her Pants’ In Front Of American Airlines Flight Crew

Thirty six year old South Korean DJ Hwang So-hee, known as DJ Soda, headlines Asian music festivals, streams online, and at least attempts to fly American Airlines.

She was flying New York JFK to Los Angeles on Monday while wearing sponsored pants, clothes she was paid to wear by the designer, and that’s how she ran into problems. So-hee reports she was “harassed and humiliated” and “forced out of the plane” and required to take off her pants “in front of the flight crews at the gate.”

American Airlines crew objected because of what was on her sweatpants.

DJ Soda felt that because dress codes aren’t enforced uniformly, they shouldn’t be enforced at all, offering on twitter that:

I have never had an issue with wearing this pair of pants before in my many months of touring in North America and they did not have any problem with me wearing it at the time of check-in nor when I sat down at my seat.

She explains that she was approached on board the aircraft, told to gather her belongings, and exit the plane. She says she wasn’t told why until she was on her way, and that it’s because her “sweatpants were ‘inappropriate’ and ‘offensive'” so she’d need to take the next flight.

Missing her flight was going to mean missing an “important meeting” so she “pleaded to stay on the flight.” As a general rule, if you have a truly can’t-miss meeting then taking the flight that arrives ‘just in time’ is a bad idea. Flights delay and cancel all the time. And dress codes get applied reasonably but inconsistently. Just ask former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo.

The South Korean minor celebrity “offered to get changed but the request was denied.” However staff relented, and she stripped in the gate area.

American Airlines has a passenger dress code, “Dress appropriately; bare feet or offensive clothing aren’t allowed.” Employees are supposed to interpret this, and no one knows what it means.

So what’s an employee supposed to do when they see F-U on pants? It’s not cancer or Black Lives Matter but it’s still the same word. If there’s ever a clear-cut case though this is it, right?

I don’t envy American. They want a policy so they can enforce it in egregious cases, but also to keep it broad enough so that those egregious cases don’t slip through the cracks. Different employees interpret it differently, and some won’t bother at all, and air travel is so small-d democratic that there are people – celebrities even, or especially – who think it’s ok to wear pants like this in public. Which it probably is, most of the time, and what’s more public than transit?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Funny that “let’s go Brandon” shirts and hats are not removed and yet everyone know what the means. Selective enforcement indeed.

  2. @Mon, “Let’s go Brandon,” gear does not actually say the F-word. That’s not selective at all. That’s common sense. Its only the easily offended who conflate, “Let’s go Brandon,” with some form of hate speech. Joe Biden even said the phrase in one of his more confused moments during a press conference, and even invited a disabled guy named Brandon to the White House (look it up) and had Jen Psaki say the phrase, apparently trying to take over ownership of the phrase and reduce its import. So… If Joe and Jen can say it, then so can everyone else without fear of the phrase being deemed offensive.

  3. An across the board policy by all airlines might be best, but there will always be marginal questions. On the plus side she might get some more publicity for this.

  4. On her social media posts about the situation, she censors the offensive term. So, she is aware that the word offends some folks. That makes it seem like a publicly stunt to me.

  5. @chris, why wouldn’t they be? A successful and famous DJ for a child. She’s accomplished more than 99% of people in America.

  6. I thought Let’s go Brandon was a longer version of LGBT. So of course it would be OK to wear.

  7. The more important issue:
    Why are there venues redacted on her tour poster?

  8. No sympathy. Wear clothes with foul language on it and denied boarding unless you change.

  9. Some people are so needy for attention, affirmation, admiration, or whatever, they they adapt an— “Everybody look at me! Everything is all about me! I’m at the center of your universe right now!— attitude. Please, just stick a cork in it until you get home or enter into some other universe where you can truly be the center of your own universe. If I wanted to be your audience, I would have bought a ticket to your concert. Then I would deserve to look at whatever you wanted to wear. The digital “influencer” phenomena has convinced so many that “you, too, can be the center of everyone else’s universe if you just put yourself out there!” At least when traveling in crowded, stressful situations, switch to kindness, courtesy, and mutual respect and your true influence will be of value to others and reflect well on you.

  10. Thank you for this valuable tip & reminder
    I will never wear my respectful F You pants when flying American

  11. With the fiscal improprieties now revealed re BLM, Parker had no business politicizing AA; let that be a lesson for airline CEOs.

    What about the other 50% reaction to MAGA hats?

    Why is it just fine on Florida flights for over weight people to board wearing but a tank top, short shorts, and shower clogs revealing I clipped toe nails? On Amtrak this dress fashion is typical in the dining car, with the addition of a dirty sports cap worn backwards.

  12. People are idiots. The policy is crystal clear on airlines. People only do this to get attention/publicity because even a moron knows you don’t wear clothes like that on public transportation.

  13. Who cares what anyone wears onboard…..once they sit down, no one sees it….

    Why does anyone fly American anyway…..

  14. Dave – you are 100% correct. Bill K- I and many others care, we don’t like seeing their filthy words on their person whether they are walking around or seated.

  15. I am absolutely APPALLED at the way American Airlines and all the rest of these Airline Companies are behaving. EVERY PERSON, no matter their color, race, social or physical condition, HAS THE RIGHT TO BE TREATED WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT. These stewards or stewardess need to be placed in jail for insisting this young woman strip to her underpants in front of God and everyone. It extends the bounds of modesty and decency. True, there are others like me who do not like to see offensive words on a billboard, in a magazine or on someone’s clothing. This young woman should have been allowed to reverse her pants quickly in a private place so she could get on the plane. It would have been better if she could have anticipated a negative reaction to her clothing and worn a different pair of pants onboard the plane. However, what these employees did was horrendous. I am planning to take a Greyhound Bus or a train if I go back east or to California again. I have simply had it with rude and nasty Security and the shenanigans these Airline Companies are constantly pulling. NO MORE.

  16. beverly – You seem to forget that actions can have consequences. She knew that when she donned the offensive clothing that it would be deemed offensive to many – and still she chose to do so. None of the actions you say happened afterwords would have happened if she had any decency and had attired herself in clothing that did not offend. She brought this upon herself and received just, corrective action. Now go and find another worthless scumbag to defend for being repulsive.

  17. I hate when stupid people cause flight delays for something they knew they were going to be called out on. This guy is an idiot and anyone who thinks it’s okay for others to be delayed because some clown decides he wants to IG/Twitter famous, is just as stupid.

  18. Sorry but why did she think this was remotely appropriate to wear on a plane? Once again we have an example of people that just don’t know how to dress appropriately for public places. I don’t get why they couldn’t just ask her to change into something else in the lav though. If she wore this on other AA planes then this is a good example of why other AA employees shouldn’t be cutting people any slack. Because as soon as they get called out on it they try to whine that other staff allowed it on other planes. There should be a really clear rule for clothing like this, because people keep wearing this stuff so make the rule and enforce it on everyone. No exceptions.

  19. Something didn’t sound right about this article so I went and looked into reporting from other sources. So the sweatpants literally have the uncensored f–k you all over them repeatedly. It isn’t like it says it in only one place on the sweat pants or that it is censored. it is written over and over again over the entire pants so it probably is repeated like fifty times. That is a clear violation of airline rules. In addition, this article makes it sound like AA forced her to strip in terminal. No. That did not happen. She took her pants off because they wouldn’t let her back on board with those pants, but they didn’t tell her to take her pants off. She did that on her own while throwing a hissy fit. Finally she turned them inside out. What this suggests to me is that she isn’t telling the whole story and maybe they asked her to change and she and/or her manager decided to be smug about the whole situation. I notice she is on tour and released a video only a few days ago so seems more like a publicity stunt.

  20. Fully support American on this. I realize our culture these days seems to be a race to the bottom, but can’t we draw the line at vulgarity like this woman was exhibiting? I think we can, and American does. More power to them.

  21. beverly vanfosson, you are a clueless FOOL…………. Airlines have a should enforce rules like this and make no exceptions, especially in a stunt-like situation like this!!

    Booooo Hoooo and TS for DJSoda!!

  22. I support American Airlines on this one. Obviously Miss Soda intentionally created the scenario so she could acquire more “sponsored clothing”. Now she’ll get a sh**load of Fuc***** clothes. So predictable these so called influencers and minor celebrities.

  23. I wholeheartedly dare her to wear that clothing item with the Korean equivalent on a Korean airlines flight let alone walk anywhere in Seoul or Korea.
    Just because you are in the US, you do not need to lose your cultural values or accept any merchandise for you to promote without having the common sense of appropriateness. The elderly and children are also in a common space with her. How about some respect? Did she not learn that growing up? Thank you AA for doing the right thing!

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