An actor known for his work on film and television said he was turned away because of his turban when he attempted to board an Aero Mexico plane. Variety reports that Waris Ahluwalia, known for his work in films including “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “The Darjeeling Limited” and for appearances on the TV series “The Carrie Diaries,” went public about the incident in Mexico City.
Ahluwalia, a Sikh, said he was held back until the other passengers were allowed to board and then had his bag searched, Variety reports, adding: “He was also swabbed and patted down. When the actor was asked to remove his turban he refused.”
Ahluwalia told the New York Daily News that removing his turban “is not something that I would do in public. That’s akin to asking someone to take off their clothes.”
The Daily News report adds: “The checkpoint’s metal detector never went off, but Ahluwalia was asked to remove his turban in a public place regardless. He asked to be taken to a private area, but was denied.”
Ahluwalia was reportedly told he would have to find another plane. He later posted a photo of himself with his plane ticket on Instagram, noting the ticket’s “SSSS” designation, indicating Secondary Security Screening Selection. The designation flags passengers for further inspection after they make it through security.
Recounting the incident, Ahluwalia commented: “I was shaking at first. That’s not a nice thing to be told, that you are not allowed to fly on this plane because of something you are wearing, or because of your religious beliefs.”
Waris Ahluwalia with his plane ticket (Instagram)