A spat between a plus-size model and a fellow air traveler was caught on video after he allegedly fat-shamed her as she sat down prior to the flight.
Natalie Hage said the trouble began soon after she boarded the plane. She posted about the man’s disposition on Instagram, saying he was “LOUDLY huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat.”
Later, she noticed a text the guy was sending to a friend.
"I had seen him saying things like you know I was spilling over into his side, I was taking up his room, just so bothered that this fat person was sitting next to him,” she said.
i'm shaking right now. i'm on a flight to LA right now on @americanair. i paid almost $70 extra for this seat i'm in because i know i need a little extra leg room. i'm extremely flight anxious but there were only middle seats available so i had to take what i could get. as soon as i sat down, the gentleman on my left began LOUDLY huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat. i see him furiously texting and then purposefully turning the phone away from me. so, naturally next time he texts, i take a look. the texts were about me and i'm almost positive he took photos of me. not only were the texts about me, but they were really mean and ugly, with even the recipient named 'linda' chiming back with shaming retorts...someone who can't even see the situation. if you can't read the texts, it says 'hopefully she didn't have any mexican food' and his response is 'i think she ate a mexican'. then he proceeds to say he's leaving a 'neck mark on the window' because he's so smashed against the wall. from the photos, you can see i'm not in his space. he's even taken over both arm rests on purpose, coming to my space and digging his elbows into my side...which is in my seat. his next text to her was 'if the news reports a DFW airbus a321 leaving the runway without rotating, that would be my flight.' another i see later? 'if these seats don't hold, it's not going to matter.' and that's just a few of them. there were several more. i didn't do anything to him. i'm in my seat, completely (see photos). i am crumpled into a ball trying to not bother. i'm just so upset. i asked the other man to my right if he'd switch me and told him what the man was saying about me and he said laughed and refused. that's fine, it's not his issue. this is a fat person's daily reality and not just on a plane. this is on a bus, standing in line at the grocery store, at a concert, on the internet. you can be completely in your own space, not bothering anyone, and people will still f*** with you and try to hurt you. all you can do is know you haven't done anything wrong just by existing and to move on. this just makes me a mixture of enraged and super sad.
Hage’s postings to her 100,000 Instagram followers contained other disparaging text messages.
“Hopefully she didn't eat any Mexican food,” a message from the passenger’s friend said, to which the passenger replied, “I think she ate a Mexican.”
When they landed, she confronted the man with her cell phone camera rolling.
“I couldn't help but notice that before we took off that you were sending really horrible text messages about me to somebody,” she said.
“No, I wasn't,” he retorted.
“I have photos — yes you were,” she said. “I saw the whole thing.”
“I apologize," he said. "I was drinking. I apologize. In fairness you probably shouldn't be sitting in an exit row seat. You know when they ask you are you willing and capable to assist people in getting off the airplane in an emergency do you honestly think that you are?"
Hage said that she had paid an extra $70 for the additional legroom.
You know nothing about me by the size of my body,” she told him. “You have no idea who you'll hurt with those kinds of things."
“That was really upsetting to me, it's especially upsetting because I am a very active person i just happen to be a fat person,” she told Inside Edition.
She told him to never “treat a person” like that again.
"I want plus-size people to know that you are fine and you are worthy and you don't deserve to feel terrible about yourself just cuz you exist,” she said.