Kevin Smith’s “Fatgate” erupted this weekend after the director was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for being too heavy: he claimed he fit just fine, the airline disagreed, and a full-on Internet squabble was born. Both sides have now laid down their weapons, and after slogging through a bunch of Smith’s tweets, this long blog post, and Southwest’s responses (we do this all for you, Vulture readers!), we have a summation of the greatest man versus airline fight of our time.
According to Smith, a Southwest representative named Linda called him to apologize and explained that he wasn’t bounced because of his weight, but because another passenger had purchased two seats, and someone had to be moved off the full flight; because Smith was a standby passenger, he was selected. But writing on the Southwest site, Linda did not explain it that way, saying “our Employees made the decision to remove Kevin after a quick judgment call that he might have needed more than one seat for his comfort and those seated next to him.” This pissed Smith off to no end: “Now I’m gonna carry this Too Fat To Fly shit around like herpes for the rest of my life, and it was never even true.” (By the way, Southwest’s original response post was awesomely headlined “Not So Silent Bob.”) Anyway, a sad Smith now tweets that he’s done with this.
But we’re not! So, will the uproar actually end up in ticket sales for Smith's new movie, Cop Out? Hard to say. 50 Cent picks a fight with another rapper every time he releases an album, although America seems to have stopped responding to the tactic with his weak-selling last one. But Smith’s beef isn’t niche: It’s with a major corporation and deals with airline travel, an issue which lots of different types of people — all of whom couldn't care less about Kevin Smith’s Empire Strikes Back theories — actually have opinions on. All the people tweeting at Smith and reading his blog the last few days are of the small, dedicated fan base that was going to see Cop Out anyway. But CNN picking up the story (along with a bunch of other outlets, including, maybe, this one) and inadvertently plugging Cop Out could broaden the demographic, right?
Only, the movie’s not out this weekend, it’s out next weekend. Surely by then some other famous person will get fleeting attention for some other ultimately trifling mater, and America will forget all about Fatgate. If Smith really wants to sell some tickets, he should be incessantly tweeting Cop Out’s red band trailer, which, unlike the one we’ve been seeing on TV, is actually funny.