Ah, Entitlement! Contrasting Two Airport Stories
When the Naomi Campbell Heathrow hissy fit story broke earlier this month, we all thought it would be more of the same. After all, tabloid readers are used to Campbell's cell-phone-chucking, diva-tastic ways. So imagine our surprise when the front page of the Post (under the pope wrap) featured a smiling supermodel yukking it up with the cops at London's busy airport. Page Six reports that Campbell chatted pleasantly with the same police officers who arrested her on April 3.
The Daily News, however, covers another diva moment. Dell Computers web consultant Rosalinda Baez was more than displeased last Tuesday when she wasn't allowed to board a JetBlue flight to Austin, Tex., because the jetway was closed. JetBlue claims Baez then told them she had a bomb in her bag. Baez counters that she was making the point that her bag was on the flight, but she wasn't, and she asked if it was a security risk. The flight managed to take off, but made an emergency landing in Richmond, Va., because of the threat. Baez was arrested and is currently banned from flying on JetBlue until the matter is resolved.
Both of these stories have an air of "diva gone wild" to them, and I have to wonder what the coverage would be like if these were men who pulled the obnoxious card. Yes, Naomi Campbell's reputation proceeds her, but what if it were Sean Penn or some other male celebrity known for scuffling with the authorities or the paparazzi? If Baez had been a male exec, would he be applauded for pointing out the absurdity of some of our airline security theater? Or would it be another case of travel schadenfreude, where you get a perverse thrill from someone pulling power trip getting his just desserts? Something tells me, however, that if Baez were male, there wouldn't be a giant picture of him accompanying the article. A small headshot would have sufficed. And the term "hissy fit" would never be mentioned.