Waris Ahluwalia, the American actor and fashion designer who was barred from an AeroMexico flight for refusing to remove his turban at security, accepted the airline’s apology on Tuesday.
“The apology is a brilliant first step, and I want to thank AeroMexico for that,” Ahluwalia, a practicing Sikh, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “But it’s a first step and that’s past-looking. The apology’s about the past, and that’s great. But now we’re talking about the future.”
Ahluwalia is still refusing to leave Mexico City more than 24 hours after the incident. The “Grand Budapest Hotel” star explained to Amanpour that he turned down other flights from both AeroMexico and other airlines because he sees this as a teaching opportunity.
“I’m afraid if I leave, this can happen again to someone else,” he said. “I can’t in good conscience allow that.”
Ahluwalia said he will not board another flight until there’s a “dialogue” with the airline. He called for “education about the Sikh religion and other religions” for employees.
The actor wrote on social media Monday that his first-class boarding pass to New York had a marking on it indicating that he needed to go through a special secondary security screening, but he refused to take off his turban in public.
After being denied a private screening, he was told that he could not get on the plane — or on any other AeroMexico flight — until he complied with the security procedures.
The airline later posted an apology on its website after Ahluwalia’s post made headlines.
“This case motivates us to ensure that security personnel strengthen its care protocols, always respecting the cultural and religious values of customers,” the airline’s statement said.