Episode 12: Interview With George Takei

March 31st 2017

ATTN: Staff

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The internet outrage cycle hit United Airlines this week. The airline first faced backlash after it barred a 10-year-old pass holder from boarding a flight due to the fact she was wearing leggings. Pass holders are given to "employees or to travelers using a United Airlines perk — often called a buddy pass — that allows friends and family of employees to fly for free or at a discount," according to the Chicago Tribune.

After a woman, Shannon Watts, live-tweeted the incident, United Airlines responded by saying there is a dress code for pass holders because they are representing the airline while using the pass.

The internet was aghast: United Airlines was going to police a child's clothing? And was this part of a larger issue of society policing how women dress? Ink was spilled on the topic, and United later released the following statement:

"We care about the way we present ourselves to you, our customers, as we believe that is part of the experience on board our flights. One of the benefits of working for an airline is that our employees are able to travel the world. Even better, they can extend this privilege to a select number of what we call 'pass riders.' These are relatives or friends who also receive the benefit of free or heavily discounted air travel – on our airline as well as on airlines around the world where we have mutual agreements in place for employees and pass riders.

"When taking advantage of this benefit, all employees and pass riders are considered representatives of United. And like most companies, we have a dress code that we ask employees and pass riders to follow. The passengers this morning were United pass riders and not in compliance with our dress code for company benefit travel. We regularly remind our employees that when they place a family member or friend on a flight for free as a standby passenger, they need to follow our dress code.

"To our regular customers, your leggings are welcome."

But the brouhaha didn't end there: Next came the backlash to the backlash, best exemplified by a couple letters to the editor posted by the Chicago Tribune. One reads:

"As a fortunate and grateful pass rider on United Airlines for the last 46 years, I take issue with the Tribune's call to keep 'hands off the leggings.' Does everything have to be boiled down to discrimination these days?

"United has had a dress code for pass riders for as long as I've been able to use this fantastic benefit. We used to be required to wear a coat and tie (dresses for the ladies) for first class and although the dress code has been dramatically loosened, it still is — and should be — there. If regular passengers want to dress like slobs fine, but United employees and their pass-riding friends need to establish a higher bar when they are hitching a ride.

"Thanks, United, and don't allow the Tribune or social media to bully you into changing your stance."

ATTN: staff — in particular Head of Editorial Mike Vainisi — had a lot to say on this particular controversy, but not what you might think (I'd venture to say we put an end to this nearly week-long debate).

Hear Senior Editor Sarah Gray, Head of Editorial Mike Vainisi, Editor Shonitria Anthony, and Senior Social Trends Editor Omri Rolan discuss that story as well as Jared Kushner's new job, President Donald Trump's first 70 days, and HBO's "Big Little Lies" on this week's "Got Your Attention."

Also, stick around to hear an amazing interview between Editor in Chief Matthew Segal and actor and activist George Takei. The two tackle everything from Trump's stance on LGBT rights, his rhetoric on Islam, and Takei's unique experience when it comes to dark chapters of U.S. history.

Podcast notes:

Read more about the stories we did (and didn't) talk about this week on "Got Your Attention."

  • The Trump administration’s electronics travel ban could cost travelers money. Travelers told CNN they would lose money or time from work due to the inability to work while in the air.
  • How should we feel about Jared Kushner's new position in the White House? (Oh, and here's this.)
  • The American Health Care Act (AHCA) failed last week. What does this mean for Obamacare? Will it really “explode” like Trump said? Politico explains.
  • Jon Gosselin from "Jon and Kate Plus 8" has a new job in Atlantic City and he definitely can't bring his his eight kids to the office on bring your son or daughter to work day.
  • "Big Little Lies" is a HBO show that centers around career moms and their families — and it has everyone talking because of how one marriage in the show tackles a very sensitive subject. ATTN:'s Shonitria Anthony broke it down.
  • Shailene Woodley submitted her plea deal after being arrested for protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline last year.
  • A terrible product of Trump’s immigration policies: fewer immigrants in Los Angeles are reporting sexual assaults, the Los Angeles Times reported.
  • United Airlines didn’t let a 10-year-old girl wearing leggings onto their flight and the internet did NOT have it. Some people are now arguing that the airline did the right thing.
  • The 28-year-old white dude who says he killed 66-year-old black man because he wanted to protect white women has revealed something even more terrible about his motives, The Huffington Post reports.
  • Two-thirds of the way into Trump's first 100 days and, following the health care failure, the White House is promising "action, action, action."
  • Arkansas just rejected a bill that would allow same-sex parents to be listed on their kids' birth certificates.

What is the "Got Your Attention" podcast?

If you've ever wondered how the staff pitch and select the stories that you read or watch on ATTN:, we're giving you an inside listen. ATTN: Media is excited to announce "Got Your Attention," a podcast where ATTN: staffers compete to have their pitches accepted by our host — while also unpacking some of the week's most important headlines.

The game is simple: Three ATTN: staff members — Senior Social Trends Editor Omri Rolan, Editor Shonitria Anthony, and Senior Editor Sarah Gray — pitch their best stories to our host and Head of Editorial Mike Vainisi. If Mike picks their story, they get a point, and the four discuss the story.