It Ain't Over! Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Claims Racism Played a Role in United Airlines Seat Stealing Incident

Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee firmly believes  her race made her ‘an easy target’ for the woman, a 63-year-old teacher, who accused her of taking her first-class seat on a United Airlines flight last week.

via NYDN:

Passenger Jean-Marie Simon accused the airline of giving the Democrat preferential treatment during a Dec. 18 flight from Houston to Washington D.C. because she’s a member of Congress.

Jackson Lee, in a statement shared to Twitter Tuesday, recalled the incident, explaining she got her pass and “boarded the plane in a normal process.”

“I did nothing wrong. I asked for nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary and received nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary,” she told her 50,000 Twitter followers. “I proceeded to take my seat and work on legislative issues on my way to Washington.”

The Democrat said after she was seated, she spotted a woman pacing up and down the aisle causing a “disruption.” The irate passenger, who had speaking to a black flight attendant at the time, eventually walked toward Jackson Lee and “took a picture.” 

“Since this was not any fault of mine, the way the individual continued to act appeared to be, upon reflection, because I was an African American, seemingly an easy target along with the African American flight attendant who was very, very nice,” the congresswoman wrote.

“This saddens me, especially at this time of year given all of the things we have to work on to help people.”

She finished her statement by saying she was pleased the airline was working to sort the matter out, “But as an African American, I know there are too many examples like this all over the nation.

“I hope one day, we will accept our collective diversity.”

United Airlines in a statement Tuesday said Simon canceled her flight from Houston to Washington with the United Mobile app. And a spokesperson in an interview with NBC denied that Jackson Lee was given the first-class seat because she is in Congress.

Simon had attempted to board the flight — which had already been delayed — with a paper ticket, only to be told that it was no longer valid.

The passenger in an interview with the Houston Chronicle has denied canceling her flight, but noted she was given a $500 voucher and seated in the Economy Plus section.

She also denied allegations of racism, saying she had “no idea who was in my seat when I complained.”

Simon also said an airline resolution manager called to apologize, but that she wanted a hand-written apology from United.

You can read Shelia’s full statement below.

If you need a refresher on the other woman’s side of the story, click here.

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