‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ Actor Not Allowed to Board AeroMexico Flight Because of His Turban

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Waris Ahluwalia – an American Sikh actor who has worked with Wes Anderson on The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Darjeeling Limited, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou – was not allowed to board his AeroMexico flight in Mexico City on Monday. Though he had been flown to Mexico as a guest of the airline, he was stopped at the security line.

Fusion reports that despite being subjected to additional screening, Waris said that it was all routine at first. He was asked to walk through the metal detector once again, and his luggage was searched.

But they crossed the line when they asked him to remove his turban, which he described as the equivalent of being asked to take off his clothes. “Sikh turbans become a part of a Sikh’s body and are usually removed only in the privacy of the house,” according to The Sikh Coalition.

When he said he wouldn’t remove his turban, he was told he’d need to find another airline to get back to the United States. This isn’t the first time he’s had an issue with AeroMexico. In September, he said he “felt a little bit like a monkey” when he was cordoned off after being flagged for additional screening.

For the last few days, Waris had been documenting his trip to Mexico – even sharing a picture of himself as Diego Rivera.

But by Monday, the tone of his account shifted, as his trip was tainted by the discrimination he faced as he tried to leave.  In his last Instagram post, the founder of the House of Waris jewelry line said that he would be late to New York Fashion Week.

AeroMexico has responded to the controversy, according to The Huffington Post. “About the situation of passenger Waris Ahluwalia, Aeromexico reports that he was asked to submit to screening and inspection before boarding, in strict compliance with TSA protocol,” a spokesperson told The Huffington Post. “We have offered the passenger to alternatives to reach his destination as soon as possible. We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused by this incident.”

The Sikh Coalition, who has closely been following the situation, has asked the airline to apologize and to train its personnel on how to properly screen passengers with religious headwear.