LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Labor unions representing most of the nation’s 90,000 flight attendants have urged their members to boycott a new Jodie Foster film that portrays a flight attendant and a U.S. air marshal as terrorists.
They said that casting cabin crew members as villains in the movie “Flightplan” was irresponsible in light of heightened security concerns since the September 11, 2001 attacks, in which suicide hijackers used airliners as guided missiles.
The Walt Disney Co. film, which was the No. 1 release at the North American box office last weekend, stars Foster as an airline passenger who awakens from an in-flight nap to find her young daughter missing. It turns out that one of the flight attendants aboard is involved in a terrorist plot hatched by the plane’s air marshal.
A union statement issued on Tuesday also complained that other flight attendants in the film are shown as being “rude, unhelpful and uncaring.”
“This depiction of flight attendants is an outrage,” said Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) International President Patricia Friend. “Flight attendants continue to be the first line of defense on an aircraft and put their lives on the line day after day for the safety of passengers.”
An AFA spokeswoman in Washington said the unions worry that moviegoers will take away impressions that will make it more difficult for flight attendants to “earn the trust and respect of passengers.”
“It’s just so irresponsible,” the spokeswoman, Corey Caldwell, told Reuters on Wednesday.
She said the portrayal of airline cabin crew members as evil-doers adds further insult to long-standing Hollywood stereotypes that have depicted flight attendants as sexualized bubble heads or as harsh, humorless disciplinarians.
A Disney spokesman said that in making “Flightplan,” which grossed nearly $25 million last weekend, “there was absolutely no intention on the part of the studio or filmmakers to create anything but a great action thriller.”
“We are confident the public will be able to discern the difference between fiction and the incredible job real-life flight attendants do on a daily basis,” the spokesman said.
The AFA called for the boycott along with two sister unions — the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) and the Transport Workers Union Local 556, which represent cabin crew members from American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, respectively. The three unions together represent 80,000 of the 90,000 flight attendants who work for U.S. carriers.
Yeah, okay. Four words: IT’S A FUCKING MOVIE. I’m sure in the last fifty years, there was this time when people couldn’t fucking tell reality from fantasy, with all the actor-doctors promoting cigarettes and such, but here in the 21st century, your average joe knows that real flight attendants are not like the ones in the MOVIE. I stress MOVIE, because fiction is not reality. I don’t think people are having as much of a problem with telling the difference as the AFA apparently is.