Metro Weekly

Charee Stanley rejects comparisons to Kim Davis

Flight attendant suspended for refusing to serve alcohol and her lawyer distinguish what makes their case different

ExpressJet flight attendant Charee Stanley during her appearance on ABC's "The View" (Photo: The View on ABC).

ExpressJet flight attendant Charee Stanley during her appearance on ABC’s “The View” (Photo: The View on ABC).

Charee Stanley, the Muslim flight attendant for ExpressJet who was suspended from her job for refusing to serve alcohol to passengers, and her lawyer appeared on last Friday’s episode of ABC’s The View and rejected any comparison between Stanley and Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis.

Stanley and Davis’ names have often been lumped together, as both have claimed forcing them to perform certain duties violates their religious freedom. But Stanley and her attorney, Lena Masri, say there’s a world of difference between the two women’s situations. 

Stanley, who recently converted to Islam after already being employed by ExpressJet, initially says was unaware that her religion prohibits her from serving alcohol, not just consuming it. When she became aware of this new prohibition, she went to her supervisors and asked for an exemption, which they granted, saying that she could ask her fellow flight attendants to serve alcoholic drinks when passengers asked for them. The arrangement worked fine until one of Stanley’s co-workers filed a complaint with the airline, at which point ExpressJet suspended her without pay. 

According to Stanley, even the woman who complained to the airline had initially agreed to serve alcoholic drinks when Stanley was unable. Stanley also said that if any passenger desired alcohol, they could still be served, just not by her. ExpressJet issued a statement saying they don’t comment on personnel matters.

Asked by co-host Michele Collins about the possibility of being moved to another job with the airline where she is not required to serve alcohol, Stanley responded, “But why would I have to move to another job? I applied to be a flight attendant. I love my job.”

When asked by Paula Faris if Stanley’s situation was similar to that of Kim Davis, who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses in Rowan County, Ky., Masri, said the two situations were completely different, as Stanley nodded in agreement. 

“Kim Davis is an elected official,” said Masri. “She took an oath to uphold and to serve the law, and by asking for a religious exception, she’s essentially denying equal access to the law to a huge segment of the population. She’s refusing to do her job. In the case of Charee, she went to airlines and asked them, ‘I want to be able to accommodate the passengers. Can we set up an arrangement where my religious beliefs are protected, where I’m not the one serving, but the flight attendant that is always with me?'” Masri added that such an agreement was a “very reasonable arrangement” that could be accommodated when and if a passenger were to ask for an alcoholic drink.

Watch the clip below:

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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