NEW YORK — A video has gone viral showing a passenger fat-shaming the two people sitting next to her.
The video shows a blond woman sitting in the middle seat on a commercial airline. She begins complaining loudly on her cell phone, saying the passengers on her right and left are overweight and she can’t take it.
“I don’t know how I’m going to do this for the next four hours. This is just impossible. Cause they’re squishing me,” the woman said.
It happened January 2 on a United airlines flight from Las Vegas to Newark. The unidentified woman was openly fat shaming the passengers on either side of her.
“I can’t breathe I’m so squished,” she said, before cruelly joking “At least they’ll keep me warm.”
Norma Rodgers of Plainfield, NJ, is a registered nurse and was one of the passengers sitting next to the woman. She recorded the rude and inappropriate comments on her cell phone and then later posted it on Facebook. It has since been viewed more than 2 million times.
CBS2’s Scott Rapoport spoke with Rodgers over the phone, and she said she couldn’t believe how she was treated.
“She was verbally abusive. What made her think it was OK to body shame two people?” Rodgers said.
Rodgers says things began to escalate, and the remarks about her weight became more and more personal.
“I eat salad. Ok?” the woman said.
Finally, Rodgers said she had enough and called out to the flight attendant.
“Excuse me. Will you find me another seat. Because I will not be verbally abused by this b**** or anybody else,” Rodgers said in the video.
“I wanted to smack her,” Rodgers told Rapoport,
Flight attendants attempted to find the woman another seat, while stunned passengers on the plane admonished her for her behavior.
“What you’re doing is so terrible. You should be ashamed of yourself,” said a passenger.
“Why don’t you sit between those two big pigs,” said the woman.
A witness on the plane told Inside Edition he was so angry he started screaming at the woman.
“You’re disgusting,” he said. “You’re disgusting.”
Rodgers says ultimately flight attendants removed the woman from the plane.
The video has now gone viral, and those who’ve seen it say they are appalled.
Conflict resolution experts say the woman in the middle made a bad choice and should have handled it differently.
“The woman who was getting upset should’ve just gotten up right away, gone to the flight attendant and said change my seat,” said psychologist Dr. Judy Kuriansky.
Now her behavior is on display for all to see.
Rodgers told Scott she’s pleased with the way United Airlines handled the situation, saying the flight attendants were calm and professional, and helped keep things from escalating further.