Qatar Airways ordered to pay for plus-sized model’s therapy after denying her seat as she was ‘too big’

Qatar Airways ordered to pay for plus-sized model’s therapy after denying her seat as she was ‘too big’

By Owais Farooqi

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL: A Sao Paulo Court has ordered Qatar Airways to pay for the therapy of a Brazilian plus-sized social media influencer who claimed she was stopped from boarding a flight ‘because she was too big for her seat’. Juliana Nehme, 38, had accused the Middle Eastern carrier of discriminating against her due to her size during her scheduled flight from Beirut to Doha on November 22.

In an Instagram video on November 24, Juliana told her 167,000 followers, “They are denying my right to travel. I’m desperate, help me, they don’t want me to board because I’m fat.” The incident occurred when she had been on vacation in Lebanon with her family and had arrived in the country via Air France along with her mother, sister, and nephew.

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Judge Renata Martins de Carvalho ruled on December 20 that the airline must pay for psychiatric or psychological treatment of the influencer. The treatment must consist “of a weekly therapy session worth 400 Brazilian Real (approx $77) for a period of at least one year, totalling BRL 19,200 ($3,691), to be deposited in the plaintiff’s bank account”. Judge Carvalho said the “granting of urgent relief is a reasonable and proportionate measure to ensure that the stressful and traumatic event is overcome” by Nehme, reported Daily Mail.



The verdict was regarded as a “milestone in the fight against prejudice” by the influencer’s lawyer, Eduardo Barbosa. Nehme reportedly talked of the agony that she faced, saying, “‘It was like I wasn’t a human being to them. I was a fat monster that couldn’t get on board. It was horrible. I’d never imagined going through something like this, ever.”

Her mother helped her understand it wasn’t her fault after the incident had left her shattered and she had been blaming herself for all she had gone through, “It hurts me now to remember how much I blamed myself, because I blamed myself a lot, I even asked my mother for forgiveness several times. “I said, ‘Mom, forgive me, because me being like this stopped you from going home.’ And she said it wasn’t my fault.”‘

Nehme said she was not offered a refund of around $1,000 she had spent on her ticket by Qatar Airways. The airline, according to the influencer, advised her to pay around $3,000 for a first-class ticket, which has spacious seats, in order to squeeze into a seat. While her sister and nephew came home, the influencer ultimately remained in Lebanon with her mother. Nehme and her mother were eventually able to return home on another flight without having to pay any more money after speaking to the Brazilian ambassador who later talked to President of Qatar Airways, a report mentioned.

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