A Tasmanian senator who was accused of using a homophobic slur during a meltdown at Melbourne Tullamarine airport in which she went into a foul-mouthed tirade at Qantas ground staff has denied using the term that was widely reported by the Australian media. The airline has since backed Jacqui Lambie’s version of events.
On Thursday, Lambie had been accused of saying “your CEO is a poof” about Qantas’ openly gay chief executive Alan Joyce after check-in agents barred her from entering the exclusive invitation-only Chairman’s Club airport lounge.
Lambie initially appeared to confirm she had used the term when she issued an apology for her behaviour at the airport but on Friday the Tasmanian senator took to Twitter to deny using a homophobic slur.
“I never said it. I’d never say that. I’m not a homophobe, and I don’t know why someone is anonymously accusing me of being one. It never happened,” Lambie wrote”
“What did happen was I blew my top at a Qantas worker who didn’t deserve it, and I apologised to them, I’ll apologise now, and I’ll wear the consequences.”
Lambie has blamed a long and stressful week for her outburst. Qantas has banned Lambie from flying on any of its planes for six months. The ban is set to take effect in early April.
Although Qantas wouldn’t normally comment on individual customer incidents, the airline confirmed on Friday that Lambie had not made the reported homophobic remark.
“The allegation of hate speech being used in our lounges requires a response. We have confirmed with our lounge staff that Senator Lambie did not make a homophobic remark as part of the incident for which she has apologised,” the airline said in a statement
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.