BBC:-A plus-size US model has been widely praised for confronting a passenger accused of sending “mean and ugly” messages about her during a flight.
Natalie Hage, who was travelling to Los Angeles for a photo shoot, said that in one of the texts, he wrote to a friend that the flight would not take off because of her weight.
In another, he said: “I think she ate a Mexican.”
The man later apologised, saying he had had a few drinks before boarding.
Ms Hage shared the incident, which happened on Thursday, on social media. A video of the exchange has been watched more than a million times.
Ms Hage, who described herself as being “extremely flight anxious”, said she had paid $70 (£54) for additional space “because I know I need a little extra leg room” but that there were only middle seats available.
“As soon as I sat down, the gentleman on my left began LOUDLY huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat,” she wrote on a post on Instagram.
Then, Ms Hage said, she noticed that he was sending text messages to a friend about her.
“[The recipient] says ‘Hopefully she didn’t have any Mexican food’ and his response is ‘I think she ate a Mexican’. Then he proceeds to say he’s leaving a ‘neck mark on the window’ because he’s so smashed against the wall.”
She said she asked the man on her right to change seats, telling him what had happened, but that he laughed and refused.
“This is a fat person’s daily reality and not just on a plane. This is on a bus, standing in line at the grocery store, at a concert, on the internet. You can be completely in your own space, not bothering anyone, and people will still f*** with you and try to hurt you.
“All you can do is know you haven’t done anything wrong just by existing and to move on.”
ater, she confronted the passenger, and posted a video of it on Facebook, and the post has been liked by more than 7,000 people. In the video, he apologised. But later said she should not sit on the emergency row as she would be unfit to help people out.
When she cited one of the messages he allegedly sent, he laughed. “Don’t ever treat somebody like that again,” she told him.
On Facebook, Ms Hage has been widely praised for her “courage” and for being a “brave woman”.