joel-madden-offbeat-inkIt happens, time and time again. People are judged by the way they look and sometimes the result can be a shameful commentary on our society. Remember when Joel Madden (of Good Charlotte fame) went to get on a British Airways flight in April? An airline employee would not let him on the airplane unless he covered up his arms. Even though another employee came along and disagreed, such a fuss was made by said employee number one that Joel was mortified and agreed to wear something over his arms just so he would not miss his flight to London.

Airline employee number one has never been named but he has certainly has his wrists slapped, and hard, by his employers, British Airways. His bosses were absolutely fuming about the bad publicity that resulted from this nonsense. Madden was so offended when this individual would not allow him to board his flight from Chicago to London on Monday 27April 09 that he twittered, facebooked and blogged the story all over the ‘net. The Good Charlotte rocker Twittered from the plane expressing his outrage. He said: “Was just told by a british air (sic) person I can’t get on the plane till I cover my tatts… I really actually am in shock.”

Poor BA bosses were equally baffled - because there is absolutely nothing in the rulebook about tattoos. As a spokesperson for the company said, “We don’t understand why the employee took it upon himself to enforce regulations that don’t exist”.

Joel also Twittered: “I was embarrassed all the people were staring and laughing!” He also said later, “My tats aren’t offensive. …I haven’t felt this small since the first time I asked Nic out.” Nicole Richie, his girlfriend and mother of his daughter, joined the Twitter fight saying: “All of [Joel's] tattoos are spiritual. Since when is expressing your love for God & family against what British Airways stands for?”

Unfortunately for Britain, this does not seem to be an isolated incident, nor is it only rockers who are targeted by the PC Brigade. The Sun reported the story last year of an Iraq veteran, 22, who had had wanted to be a policeman ever since he was a mere boy. He followed advice telling him to join the army first for some experience. He left the army and applied to join the Greater Manchester Police Force only to be turned down because of a patriotic tattoo he had on his arm. When he applied he was told that some people feel intimidated by the word England.

Craig, who had completed 4½ years with the 3rd Battalion of The Yorkshire Regiment, said: “I am shocked and disgusted. I don’t understand how it can cause offence. It is our country, after all.” When he admitted he had a tattoo, he was asked to send a photo of the inch-high Gothic letters spelling ‘England’ on the underside of his right forearm. His rejection letter said: “Home Office policy precludes applications with tattoos on lower arm, hand, face or neck that are prominent, which may cause offence and/or invite provocation from the public or colleagues.”

He said he was told in a phone call by the Manchester force’s senior recruitment consultant: “A family who aren’t of English origin who see England on your arm could feel you might discriminate against them.”