Thousands of people flooded airline carrier AeroMexico's social media accounts with complaints after the airline barred Sikh fashion model and designer Waris Ahluwalia from boarding a flight to New York on Monday, citing his refusal to remove his turban in public. Waris reportedly offered to remove the religious head covering in a private screening room, but was denied.
A photo posted by Waris Ahluwalia (@houseofwaris) on
Ahluwalia was stuck overnight in Mexico City and refused to fly to New York Fashion Week until the airline issued a public apology and promised to offer its staff training for how to properly search passengers with religious head coverings. The New York-based Sikh Coalition promptly tweeted in support of Waris' demands.
Over 5,400 tweets have circulated the supportive hashtag #StandWithWaris, a Vocativ analysis found. Vocativ's geolocation technology also revealed that Waris' supporters are tweeting from all over the world, with the vast majority of geo-tagged tweets from from North America, including Mexico and the United States.
There are approximately 27 million Sikhs around the world. The vast majority live in the Punjab region of India, but several million live in Canada, the US and the UK.
See more images of the designer:
AeroMexico apologizes for booting Sikh designer from flight
Actor and designer Waris Ahluwalia attends an interview with Reuters in Mexico City, Mexico, February 9, 2016. Aeromexico has issued a directive to its staff stressing respect for actor Waris Ahluwalia and others who wear religious headwear after he was barred from flying on the airline out of refusal to remove his turban, according to the popular star. The American-Indian actor was reportedly turned away from his flight from Mexico City to New York for not allegedly taking off his turban for security screening. Picture taken February 9, 2016. REUTERS/Ginnette Riquelme TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Actor Waris Ahluwalia poses during a portrait session on day seven of the 12th annual Dubai International Film Festival held at the Madinat Jumeriah Complex on December 15, 2015 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for DIFF)
Toronto, Canada - September, 12 2015 - Waris Ahluwalia is acting in film Beeba Boys at TIFF and seen at the Intercontinental Hotel. TIFF15 (Toronto International Film Festival) September 12, 2015 (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16: (L-R) Jennifer Hudson, Waris Ahluwalia, and Santigold attend DKNY Women's Spring 2016 during New York Fashion Week: The Shows on September 16, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 13: Waris Ahluwalia attends W Magazine NKPR IT Lounge Studio at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 13, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Sonia Recchia/WireImage)
Actor Waris Ahluwalia is interviewed following the showing of her Edun Fall 2011 collection during Fashion Week, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 13: (L-R) Actors Ali Kazmi, Waris Ahluwalia, Ali Momen attend the 'Beeba Boys' premiere during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival held at Roy Thomson Hall on September 13, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jeremychanphotography/WireImage)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 14: Actor Waris Ahluwalia attends the 'Beeba Boys' premiere during day six of the 12th annual Dubai International Film Festival held at the Madinat Jumeriah Complex on December 14, 2015 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for DIFF)
Actress Julia Stiles, left, and actor Waris Ahluwalia, right, talking with girlfriend Chiara Clemente, wait for the showing of the The fall 2009 collection of Cynthia Rowley during Fashion Week, Monday, Feb. 16, 2009, in New York. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: Waris Ahluwalia (C) attends Tory Burch Spring 2016 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on September 15, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tory Burch)
From left, U.S. actor Bill Murray, U.S. actor Wally Wolodarsky, writer Roman Coppola, the son of Francis Ford Coppola, U.S. actor Adrien Brody, U.S. director Wes Anderson, U.S. actor Jason Schwartzman and actor Waris Ahluwalia pose during the photo call of the movie "The Darjeeling Limited" in competition at the 64th Venice Film Festival, in Venice, Italy, Monday, Sept. 3, 2007. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 13: Actor Waris Ahluwalia attends the 'Beeba Boys' premiere during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 13, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 13: Actor Waris Ahluwalia attends the 'Beeba Boys' premiere during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 13, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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After almost 24 hours of vehement backlash, including an additional 5,301 outraged tweets and dozens of Facebook comments, AeroMexico issued an official apology.