Cancer survivor says she was ‘humiliated’ in dispute with AA over clothing policy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A two-time cancer survivor is speaking out about her experience with American Airlines, after she said employees humiliated her after instructing her to cover a message on her sweatshirt.

The sweatshirt read “(expletive) Cancer.”

Roslyn Singleton said the message describes how she feels about the disease that nearly claimed her life.

“I don’t love cancer,” she said. “I don’t respect it, and my sweatshirt gave my exact sentiments on something that has tried to kill me twice.”

Singleton said she initially asked to see the airline policy in writing but complied after an employee initially asked her to cover the message. She said she was later approached by a second staff member regarding the issue after she’d already covered the sweatshirt with a jacket.

“The first thing she said to me -- she didn’t say hello, she didn’t say ma’am, she didn’t say anything -- she said, ‘I was made aware that there was an issue,’” Singleton explained. “I literally just took my jacket off. I ripped the sweatshirt off my body and I just walked away and stood in line and felt humiliated because she literally pointed me out like a child after I complied with what they asked me to do.”

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Below is the full statement from American Airlines:

“American’s policies prohibit clothing that displays offensive statements and inappropriate language from being worn on board. In this instance, our team should have taken the broader context of the message displayed on the customer’s shirt into consideration when explaining our policies. Our team is reaching out to learn more about Ms. Singleton’s experience, apologize and reaffirm our support for efforts to fight cancer.”

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Singleton said the issue isn’t what they asked her to do, but how they treated her.

“If I would’ve been approached differently, and the delivery would’ve been different, I would’ve gladly had no problem, but I was humiliated,” she said.

Channel 9′s DaShawn Brown asked American Airlines what prompted employees to approach Singleton a second time after she complied. A spokesperson said the incident is still under internal review.

Singleton has also retained an attorney and, together, they’re asking American Airlines for an apology, that the employees involved be fired and for AA to review its training on how to handle customer conflicts.