A friend of mine was given two Wicked Good Cupcakes before a trip from Boston to Las Vegas. She carried them onto the plane (they come in glass jars to keep them fresh) and all that the Boston TSA checker said was that they looked delicious. She ate one on the flight out & decided to eat the other on the way home.
And that's when the security theatrical comedy began...
[Note: I modified the text below to fix some errors & add some events since I first posted this Saturday morning.]
Dear TSA agents in Las Vegas: Thank you for keeping America safe by stealing my cupcake-in-a-jar from me. I'm sure the delicious-looking frosting indeed counts as a "liquid" which, like all liquids on airlines, presents a magical but grave security threat to my fellow passengers and the entire flight crew. You are amazing. Bravo!!!On Wednesday, Rebecca Hains posted the above to her Facebook wall. That's when her friends learned about this, but none of us had any idea how far this would go. (Here's a public FB link about the incident.)
Before even posting to FB, she had posted a more extensive description to BoingBoing, complete with a picture of the offending jar in the TSA agent's hand (she wasn't allowed to touch the jar after they took it). The TSA complaint procedure didn't seem likely to accomplish anything but BoingBoing has published such complaints -- maybe they'd publish this one, too. On Thursday the story appeared in full on BoingBoing and quickly started spreading across the internet.
On Friday, local Channel 5 news showed up (with an appointment), followed by local Channel 7 news (unannounced). A lot of newspapers got in on the act, as well as countless others. (Hate messages also started appearing with attacks too obvious to bother repeating.)
"It's not really about the cupcake; I can get another cupcake," she added. "It's about an encroachment on civil liberties. We're just building up a resistance and tolerance to all these things they're doing in the name of security, when it's really theater. It is not keeping us safe."
What more could happen? Later on Saturday, she was called by Fox and Friends to appear live on Christmas morning! She turned them down -- she's a professional singer (among other things) and has a church job. So they ran a piece without her that actually wasn't bad, though it was lightweight and missed the fact that the head of the TSA said that cupcakes actually are allowed on airplanes.
Since then, she has been on a number of radio interviews, and was reported on by Fox News on Saturday night -- and the Boston version was pretty good. (One of the comments cited a really vile Fox news report, but I don't know which local Fox News affiliate did that one.)
OK, so this isn't anywhere near the silliest thing that TSA or other security checkers have done. Patrick Smith at Salon.com has been keeping lists -- here is his latest story about having to give up his fork in Mexico City. They couldn't have taken the airplane pilot's fork because they thought it would turn him into a terrorist threat -- I figure that they needed it for a cupcake!
Late breaking news: Rebecca agreed to appear live on Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning. Stay tuned for how it goes. As someone who is a media expert and a trained performer (and given that the Fox people don't seem to be hostile), I think she's got a good shot at getting her message out, which does NOT include getting the Las Vegas agent fired. Encouraging TSA as a whole to improve would be nice!
Oh, and about the confiscated "National Velvet" cupcake? Wicked Good Cupcakes has promised Rebecca a dozen to replace it. And they twittered an announcement that they are renaming the flavor "National Security Velvet".