In an Instagram post, Natalia Hage, a model, social media influencer and body positive activist from Dallas, Texas details her traumatic experience while she was travelling to Los Angeles, California for a shoot last week. In order to get more leg room, she paid $70 extra to move to the seat next to the emergency exit. But right after take-off, she saw that the man next to her began to get uncomfortable. Minutes later, she spotted him "furiously" sending nasty texts about her weight to a friend.
"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," she wrote in an Instagram post.
You can read the entire post here
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.
But instead of being apologetic, Natalie decided to take control of the situation. Shortly after landing in Los Angeles, she decided to confront the man for what he did. She posted a video of the conversation she had with the man, which now has over 1.5 million views on Facebook. After being called out for his messages, the man explained he was drinking and was sorry. But not for long as he soon began body-shaming her again.
"In fairness, you probably shouldn't be sitting here. You know what they ask you 'are you willing and capable to assist people getting off the plane in an emergency'..," he asked her.
While many stood in support with Natalie and praised her for handling the situation in a calm and dignified way, a quick look at the comments section of her posts will tell you how many still thought the man's behaviour was acceptable and blamed her for looking into his phone. The fat-shaming continued even in the comments.
A problem she acknowledged in her original post.
"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 f**k 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," she wrote. Click for more trending news
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