Hollywood directors have long been known to throw their weight around to get what they want. But over the weekend, on a Burbank-bound Southwest Airlines flight, indie auteur Kevin Smith took that cherished convention to a new extreme.
The plus-sized writer-director behind such potty-mouthed comedies as "Clerks," "Dogma" and 2008's "Zack & Miri Make a Porno" was kicked off a plane at Oakland International Airport on Saturday, allegedly because the captain deemed Smith's obesity a "safety risk" to other passengers.
Nothing happens inside a vacuum with Smith, one of the entertainment industry's most online-savvy operators -- a guy with over 1.6 million Twitter followers and the propensity to channel righteous indignation, as well as his own frequent humiliations, into 140-character dispatches. And the director managed to turn a small dust-up into headline news around the globe.
Once inside the airport terminal, he went on the offensive, needling Southwest in a barrage of tweets.
"I broke no regulation, offered no 'safety risk' (what was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?)," Smith wrote on Twitter Saturday. "I was wrongly ejected from the flight . . . " Less than an hour later, he tweeted: "Hey @SouthwestAir! Look how fat I am on your plane! Quick! Throw me off!" -- and attached a camera phone photo of himself onboard a later flight.