A Sikh Indian-American actor and designer said Monday that he was barred from boarding an Aeromexico flight from Mexico City to New York because he refused to remove his turban.
"This morning in Mexico City I was told I could not board my @aeromexico flight to NYC because of my turban," Waris Ahluwalia wrote in his Instagram account.
The 41-year-old bearded actor posted a picture of himself holding up his boarding pass and another in front of an Aeromexico customer service desk. The House of Waris chief was heading to New York's fashion week.
"Dear NYC fashion week. I may be a little late as @aeromexico won't let me fly with a turban. Don't start the show without me," he added.
The Mexican airline issued a statement late Monday saying that it was obligated to follow "federal requirements in terms of security determined by the US Transportation Security Administration to review passengers."
The airline said it "regrets the inconvenience that any passenger may perceive from the application of these procedures" and it vowed to transport all passengers regardless of their religious beliefs.
The public backlash following the incident has even sparked the #StandWithWaris hashtag on Twitter, with New York’s Sikh Coalition demanding an apology from the airline, along with ‘Sikh awareness training for airport security’, along with training on how to screen passengers ‘wearing religious headwear’.
The incident has also created dialogue in the US political circles, with US House of Representatives member Joe Crowley tweeting: “I'd say this is unbelievable but fact is Sikhs continue to face discrimination based on how they look. This must end.”
As an actor, Ahluwalia appeared in the Oscar-nominated film ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and the US television series ‘The Carrie Diaries’. He also has modeled for clothier Gap.