Look, I have the worst luck when it comes to sitting next to people on a plane.
I was once on a long-haul flight back from New Zealand when a man, who seemingly had no idea of social boundaries, took off his shoes and socks to let everyone on the plane smell his rancid feet.
In the end someone said something to one of the air hostesses, who thankfully told him she’d been receiving complaints and he should put his feet away.
However, I still don’t think it would have been acceptable to ridicule the person online – even though at the time I could have ripped his head off.
I say this because one man is in hot water over a series of comments he made about a fellow airline passenger.
Lewis Openshaw, 24, was sat on a flight ahead of his trip from Manchester to Tunisia, when, as he puts it, a “f*cking lump of lard” came and sat next to him.
The security company director secretly took picture of the woman and uploaded it to Facebook where he added the caption.
He added that the flight was “full of jamrakis” [a racist term] and “fatties”.
He said: “Just my f**king luck. I pay extra for a window seat on a row with no one on.”
“So sit down now a big fat sweaty f**k with a hairy chin with a minging face like she’s headbutted a flaky cheese and bean pasty from Greggs and she stinks of raw onions comes and sits next to me. F**ks right off.”
Since he uploaded the photo, Lewis has been criticised for ‘bullying’ and ‘fat-shaming’.
Charity Helping Overcome Obesity Problems (HOOP) slammed his post and warned it could lead to depression, anxiety, self harm and even suicidal thoughts in the victim.
Dr Stuart Flint, research fellow at Leeds Beckett University and Director at HOOP said:
“It is exactly like playground bullying.
“You can see from some of the emojis used [by Lewis and his friends] that it is perceived as quite comical as if it is a joke. Fat jokes are perceived as acceptable.
“In terms of impact [on the victim of the abuse], the first thing I would say is the impact is great.
“No matter what the subject, stigma discrimination is not acceptable. It doesn’t have to be just about weight.
“You have to think about the impact on the person. It can be quite vast and very serious. It could impact their mental and physical health but also self-harming and suicidal thoughts.
“You have to think about how you behave and treat different people.”
After being contacted for a response, Lewis apparently deleted the posts, with Metro reporting when he was approached for comment he said:
“I hope you get cancer and die.”
Clearly what he said about the woman is disgusting and he shouldn’t have called her out publicly like that, especially given the damage fat-shaming can do to someone.
Hopefully he’ll learn his lesson, come out and apologise and refrain from this kind of behaviour in the future.
Images via Facebook/Kennedy News Media