Plus size model Natalie Hage recorded herself confronting a man who body-shamed her on an American Airlines flight. The video, originally posted on Hage's Facebook, went viral with over 1 million views before being taken down.
The incident started after Hage boarded a flight from Dallas to Los Angeles and took a middle seat in an exit row, ABC News reports.
"I noticed immediately that the man to my left at the window was huffing and sighing incredibly loud, like obviously loud and pointed," Hage said.
She soon discovered that the man was taking photos of her and texting someone about her. The texts were not kind.
"I think she ate a Mexican," Hage said that the man texted to someone, later adding "If the news reports a DFW Airbus A321 leaving the runway without rotating, that would be my flight."
Hage was made so uncomfortable by the experience that when the plane landed at LAX, the 30-year-old body positive model decided to confront him.
"You have no idea who you'll hurt with those kind of things," Hage can be heard saying in the video. She deliberately did not film the man's face. "You made me feel so uncomfortable to exist in this seat."
While the man initially denied the messages, he eventually apologized, giving alcohol as the reason for his bad behavior, but even beyond the experience on the plane Hage says that incidents like these are part of her daily reality.
"This is a fat person's daily reality and not just on a plane," she wrote on Instagram. "You can be completely in your own space, not bothering anyone, and people will still … try and hurt you."
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 fuck 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 hopes to use her experience to let others in similar situations know that they aren't alone.
"It doesn't matter how or why you might be overweight or you might be fat, but you still deserve to be treated like a human being."
Photo: Twitter / @mariedenee
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