A DRAG queen claims Virgin Atlantic dropped her from a gay pride advert “after finding out she was a woman”.
Lacey McFadyen, who uses the stage name Lacey Lou, says the airline offered her £750 for a spot in a promotional video to celebrate sexual diversity.
The 26-year-old, from Birmingham, was contacted by a communications company who work for Richard Branson, after discovering her Instagram, the Telegraph reports.
She said they told her they wanted her to appear in a “remake” of the airline’s iconic 2009 TV ad which shows glam air hostesses walking through Gatwick Airport.
The professional drag artist had a series of email exchanges with the company and was asked to send her measurements for her flight attendant costume.
Just days before the shoot she was asked for a photograph “without drag make-up” and Lacey presumed it was so they’d recognise her when she arrived.
But she says that shortly afterwards she received an email saying she had been dropped.
Lacey said: “I was devastated. I had cleared the filming days in my diary. I emailed asking why they had changed their mind.
“I got no reply. Then they called and admitted they didn’t realise I was a woman and wanted only male drag queens.
“I explained that women work as drag queens. It’s sex discrimination. I did some research and found the other acts chosen were all men.”
A Virgin Atlantic spokesman said that Lacey wasn’t rejected because of her gender, but the final choices were based on “aesthetics, ethnicity, height and performance”.
He did admit that the rest of the acts chosen were male, but added that the shoot wasn’t a “remake” of its famous advert as the agency described.
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Instead, he said it’s part of a campaign to celebrate next year’s World Pride with a special service called “Pride Flight” from London to New York.
The spokesman said that the brief was to cast five drag artists in a promotional video, however they did not specify gender.
He added that Lacey Lou is welcome to join them for the Pride Flight, which is a 38,000ft celebration of “queer culture” and will also feature
a DJ, drag queen bingo, Judy Garland sing-a-long and speed dating.
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