Joel Madden's Tattoos Land Him in No-Fly Zone

Rocker says British Airways employee demanded he cover his ink or get booted from flight

By Breanne L. Heldman Apr 27, 2009 7:14 PMTags
Joel MaddenIsaac Brekken/Getty Images

Discrimination against people with tattoos is just plane crazy.

When heavily inked rocker Joel Madden attempted to board a British Airways flight from London to Lisbon on Saturday evening, he claims he was ordered to hide his tats or stay in the U.K.

"Was just told by a british air person I can't get on the plane till I cover my tatts," he twittered. "I really actually am in shock he won't let me on the plane till I put long sleeves on and other BA rep is disagreeing."

The Good Charlotte star admitted he told the employee it was discrimination and threatened to write a nasty letter. "The guy was literally disgusted by me," he says.

In the end, however, he conceded, put on a long-sleeved shirt and boarded the flight:

"yes i covered up to board the BA flight," Nicole Richie's man wrote. "I didn't want to miss it. And honestly i was embarrrassed all the people were staring and laughing! its not in the rules that i can find.my tatts arent offensive. looking into it. i havent felt this small since the first time i asked nic out."

Richie is livid as well, writing on her Twitter, "all of @joelmadden 's tattos are spiritual. Since when is expressing your love for God & family against what British Airways stands for?"

"British Airways has no policy against tattoos at all," a rep for the airline tells E! News. "The only dress policy is that people dress appropriately. There's absolutely no prohibition of tattoos."

The rep adds that the staff member involved in Madden's mishap "is being spoken to."

Discrimination accusations aren't a new thing for airlines. United Airlines is now requiring oversize passengers to pay for an additional seat or a larger, business class seat, or risk being booted from the plane. In 2007, Southwest Airlines came under fire for barring a 23-year-old college student from flying for wearing a skirt that was deemed too short.

(Originally published April 27, 2009, at 7:50 a.m. PT)

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