An Ode to Heather Hogan’s In-Flight “Carol” Breakdown

It should be no surprise to any of you that on a recent flight Autostraddle’s own Heather Hogan took to repeating aloud the lines from Carol after a man next to her complained to the flight staff that she was watching “homosexual pornography.” What happened next is a story we’ll all tell our future grandchildren.

It began as it always does, a man in the seat next to you refusing to mind his own business. Heather was simply on what I assume was her 80th viewing of Carol on her laptop and the gentleman next to her didn’t like what he saw.


Paged the flight attendant! Can you imagine how little problems you have going on in your life that a brief, understated sex scene throws your entire life into chaos and you at once must have it be corrected? Luckily Heather knew just how to handle the situation.


I’m sorry, have you ever said anything as hilarious and with such precision as a response to someone’s bigotry in your entire godforsaken life? This somehow did not immediately smooth things over.


“I don’t wanna!” This man is probably a CEO somewhere super important and not at Petulant Babies R’ Us where he belongs. This all could have ended there upon Heather’s advice. It didn’t.


When I read this tweet I broke on through the to other side. It’s one thing to read this tweet but it’s a whole other bag of chips to sit back, close your eyes, and really take in this scene. It’s a thing of beauty. It couldn’t possibly be topped. Oh, but it gets topped, just like Terese.

5 6 7

What did we do to deserve this. Thankfully, it’s not over.


“No I wasn’t.” At that moment Heather and that man became brother and sister. And what does any dominant sibling do after mom is called and then leaves? That’s right, play “my hand’s not in your face.” Heather, finish him.

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Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 208 articles for us.


  1. I’ve never loved someone I’ve never met as much as I love Heather Hogan.

    Not even Pinoe.

  2. I have yet to watch Carol outside of a plane and I swear the version we had was edited to remove the “homosexual pornography” either that or I dozed off because flights :(

    • Interesting. I watched it on a flight, and it DEFINITELY contained the “homosexual pornography”

  3. Whenever I am having an unpleasant flight experience, I will mentally summon Heather Hogan as my Patronus.

  4. Well this made my day.

    Also this: “Oh, but it gets topped, just like Terese.”

    Oh, but what does it mean, “pausing on Waterloo”?

    • In the film, Carol and Therese are in Waterloo, Iowa when things start to get “pornographic”.

      • I think she meant it as in “pausing on Waterloo” is unheard of because who would want to stop it lol.

  5. Also Heather did A-camp grant you these superpowers to fight the patriarchy or did you always have them ?

    (asking for a friend).

    • Real talk, I don’t mean for this to get weird, but when you’re still a chicken about reading as queer in the real world, like yours truly, who cried in her girlfriend’s lap on Sunday night because she knew she’d have to come in to work Monday with a queerer haircut than ever before, and even more so, because that shouldn’t bother her anymore…

      TL:DR camp really did give me courage, it must have, because when Julia cut my hair I faced away from the mirror and told her to do what she wanted and when I felt the clippers against the back of my head I had no idea how short their setting was, and I survived that, and now that I’ve met Heather (although all I could do at the time was fangirl out) and can conjure the image of her whispering lines of Carol to the patriarchy on a plane, not scared, not shutting up, like some sort of lesbian patronus in a Star Trek t-shirt…well, that’s a gift. Camp was a gift and I needed it. So there’s that.

      Anywho. (Sorry Chloe, I just totally made this about me)


          Because if she does holy A-Camp Stalk-Thon I saw her in the #autostraddlecamp tag…on twitter probably twitter on Sunday or Monday.

          As an side intagram straddlers who ever had those 2 perfectly photographed black cats, good job. Many of you have cute cats, but serious kudos on the photog skilz owner of 2 black cats. Plz volunteer to take picture of dark coated shelter animals.

      • Ohh hey me too, I just had mine buzzed really short last month and it took about two weeks before I was brave enough to leave my house without big dangly earrings and makeup on to compensate. How did it go over at work?

  6. Oh. My. God.
    Heather, you’ve done so many great and hilarious things in the past, but I think this has to be my favourite so far.

  7. Ahh this was the best Twitter story. We should pass it down through the ages. I spit out my drink when I read “in terms of finger-banging.” Hell hath no fury like a woman returning from A-Camp.

  8. I’m dying.

    This is the very day of my death.

    I forgot to write a will so my family doesn’t dick my roomate out of my stuff.

    But it’s too late now.

    I am already dead.

  9. Heather Hogan is now officially my favourite person on the Internet. I needed this laugh more than you know!

  10. This is how Hufflepuffs handle their shit. Heather Hogan the Hero!

    Sidebar I got my mum to watch Carol on her flight back from Singapore where she had been working, and she loved it. She said “It is art”. No one told her it was porn but that’s probably because she was watching on one of those BA tiny seat back screens no one can see but you.

  11. As Heather Hogan’s actual sister…I almost feel sorry for this guy. This is not fun to be on the other side of.

    As an actual person, hahahahaha.


    I am so, so glad this made it to AS. And the next time I need courage to be unapologetically gay in some space I’m going to take a moment, center myself, and whisper “dearest, tits and fanny” to bolster my courage.

  13. This is so magical

    Anyone flown Delta lately? Carol is one of the only free feature films on Delta, and literally every flight I’ve been on this year I’ve been next to or behind people watching Carol who I definitely wouldn’t have visually pegged as “people interested in Carol.” They tend to look around a lot and sometimes stop the movie, watch TV, and then go back to the movie. I wish there was a tumblr for Shifty People Watching Carol on Delta

    • No, but I flew Norwegian a few days ago where it was offered and they edited the sex scene out. It just felt kind of awkward watching it. I kept looking around at other people’s screens too, but it looked like I was the only one watching it =/

    • I have been thinking of how wonderful it would be if hundreds of Lesbians converged on Waterloo on New Year’s Eve for a CAROL Festival!!! :-)

  14. Ugh Heather this is literally perfect. “Because lesbian sex activity” is going to be my new go-to excuse. “Sorry I’m late y’all, all that lesbian sex activity on my mind…”

  15. I cannot express how much joy this brought to my heart. I literally laughed so hard I cried. Heather Hogan is truly a hero to us all :)

  16. Waterloo, He was defeated, you won the war
    Waterloo, Promise to shut up forevermore
    Waterloo, Couldn’t escape if he wanted to
    Waterloo, Knowing his fate is to sit beside you
    Waterloo, Finally facing his Waterloo

    Please tell me the old white dude in question was very short and had a French accent.

  17. I was on a Japan – Australia flight recently and saw the dad of a family watching this movie and he showed it so little respect that he took two breaks and watched other things before returning. It looked like his daughter noticed the sex scene, told her mum and it got awkward. I’m not sure if he ever finished the film.

  18. I have never SAID anything as hilarious and with such precision as a response to someone’s bigotry in my entire godforsaken life, however I did spit right in the face of someone who had just spit on my face.
    There was no speaking on my end, there may have been a slur before he spit on me not sure it was long ago, but spiting back totally counts as a precise and hilarious response because y’all the look on his face was fucking priceless.

    He went from triumphant-putting-the-freak-in-its-place to 404-blank-screen-does-not-compute-total-shock for like a minute before bugging out and trying to get the freak germs off his face while everyone laughed at his dumb ass.
    Middle school kids give mercy to no one, not even the cool kids in moments like that.

    But yeah go Heather presenting film credentials to that bigot.
    Slay him with your Hufflepuff nature.

  19. This made me cry, and not from laughter, but like, from sincere gratitude that out of the billions upon billions of years that the universe has existed, I get to live at the same time in history as Heather Hogan.

  20. I have other Writers that I read, obviously, but Heather, you are my very, very favourite Writing Human. Just so you know. This makes me sad that I have no idea how to Twitter.

    Thanks for this, Erin. :)

  21. I’m just going to Ctrl-C “lesbian sex activity is on my mind” for a later use

    Thank you very much.

  22. Heather Hogan is too good for this world. She is a greater hero than we all deserve. My misandry levels increased 1000% from reading this, and now I want to go out and annoy some men.

  23. Should I point out the obvious – even if it were actual pornography, you would have every right to watch it. Free speech, and all that.

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