Jetstar Airlines Censors Mothers Art
For five years, Peta Bull's tattoo of a naked man and woman embracing hardly raised an eyebrow - not at work, not in public, not even at her daughter's school, where she helps out from time to time. Then she flew Jetstar. Soon after boarding a flight to Brisbane last month, the 36-year-old said she was asked to cover the tattoo on her shoulder blade - even though singlet straps already hid the most potentially offensive bit - or get off the plane. The crew said there were children on board and some passengers might be offended. In front of other passengers, they gave her a jacket and told her to wear it until she reached the terminal.
Peta Bull … told to cover up.Ms Bull said she was too shocked to argue. "It was humiliating. I couldn't see the problem. [Because of the straps] nobody could have worked out what the picture was. I was very embarrassed." She said another passenger with a four-letter word on his T-shirt was not asked to cover up. "I felt like I had been singled out. I have never experienced anything like that before." The tattoo shows a man sitting behind a woman, who is lying back and propped up on her elbows. He holds one arm across her breasts and another over her crotch. "It's not sexual," Ms Bull said. Cameron Murphy, president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, said it was a censorship issue. He said staff should be encouraging people to fly rather than policing body art. "I think the operators of Jetstar should be more sensible," he said. "It's really an issue of freedom of expression. There's no particular reason why something like that could cause any problem for people." Ms Bull, a cleaner and mother of two from Mackay in central Queensland, tried to call the airline to complain after the January 26 flight but was told to write a letter. She sent the letter as registered mail on Friday. A Jetstar spokesman, Simon Westaway, said the company would look into the issue when it received the letter. The conditions of flight stated crew members were entitled to address matters that might upset other passengers. "Our cabin crew aren't the social police," Mr Westaway said. "[But] at the end of the day the comfort of all the passengers needs to be taken into consideration. Our cabin crew clearly felt that they needed to ask her to cover up a little bit."