What are the details?
The Adler family, which hails from Southfield, Michigan, says that an American Airlines agent denied them passage on a flight from Miami to Detroit in January 2019.
Yehuda Yosef Adler, his wife Jennie, and their toddler were reportedly asked to deplane after reportedly exhibiting a foul body odor. You can read more about the 2019 incident as reported by TheBlaze here.
The Adlers filed the lawsuit, alleging discrimination, on Tuesday in a federal court in Texas. According to the suit, an American Airlines gate agent reportedly said that he knew for a fact that Orthodox Jews only bathed once weekly.
The family insisted they all showered the morning before the flight.
A portion of the suit reads, “Plaintiffs were distraught and even though embarrassing, approached persons in the same area of the boarding gate asking them if they could detect unpleasant body odor from any of the Adler family and each and every person (more than 20 people) answered in the negative.”
The Adlers insist that the airline discriminated against the family because Yehuda was wearing a yarmulke and Jennie was wearing a shaytel, a wig sometimes worn by married Orthodox Jewish females. The Adlers also say they absolutely did not exhibit any offensive body odors.
What about the lawsuit?
The family is suing for emotional distress, damage to personal and professional reputations, loss of appetite, insomnia, and fear associated with airports and flying, according to USA Today. The Adlers are asking for punitive damages as determined by a jury.
The suit notes, “The Adlers are being pressured to see their race and religion as inferior to that of Whites, dirty and unwelcome.”
What did the airline say?
On Thursday, the airline issued a statement defending its 2019 decision.
“Our team members took care of the family and provided hotel accommodations and meals, and rebooked them on a flight to Detroit that next morning,” a spokesperson told USA Today. “None of the decisions made by our team in handling this sensitive situation were based on the Adler’s [sic] religion.”
The spokesperson also pointed out that the airline opted to remove the family from the plane because other passengers and crew members allegedly complained about the family’s “body odor.”
A scheduling conference is slated to take place on May 29.