French Flight Attendant Forced to Cover Locs with Wig


A Black French flight attendant of Air France is not allowed to wear dreadlocks during his service. The Frenchman of Ivorian origin is now forced to wear his dreads under a wig. But the dress code only applies to men, black women are allowed to wear their hair in dreadlocks.

According to the petition “Hair France, don’t touch our roots” , Aboubakar Traoré was hired as a flight attendant by the Air France in 1999. But he had no idea that such a hairstyle could “harm” the image of the company, considering that not a single of Air France regulations prohibits male flight attendants from wearing dreadlocks. Nevertheless, his managers at Air France went as far as forcing him to wear a wig to hide his hairstyle.

However, Air France’s regulations explicitly allow the wearing of dreadlocks by women, recognizing as such that the hairdo can have strong associations to an individual’s identity.

On May 5th demonstrators protested outside the office of Air France in Paris to protest against the airline’s refusal to change to change rule. They want the company to genuinely consider the ethnic diversity of its personnel, as well of the evolving society, within its regulations. And that the company halt all disciplinary measures being imposed against the flight attendant.

Here’s the story, for those of you who can speak French:

Discrimantion _ Air France s’acharne by AncFrance
Ladies, what are your thoughts on this? On the one hand I can perhaps understand if they don’t want male employees in general wearing their hair long. On the other hand, I doubt the locs interfere with his ability to be a great flight attendant.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...


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73 thoughts on “French Flight Attendant Forced to Cover Locs with Wig

  1. Bonjour! Hello from Paris! French reader here.
    Yes I heard about it from my mother.
    It’s outrageous but I’m not surprised really. That’s sad..

    • Hi I’m a student from Paris .
      That is just so shameful : I taught his locs were actually classy. I guess it will always be hard to deal with narrow-minded and uneducated people… THIS IRKS ME

      • I live in Paris and I didn’t hear this story. That’s weird, I think medias don’t want to spread the news… We are so late in admetting that someone can wear the hair he was born with. Shame on us.

  2. It’s a bit silly in my opinion. He looks a little foolish in the wig. I don’t see how a hairstyle makes a difference in how one can carry out his job.

  3. Depends. I would need to read the full policy because: are men restricted from certain hairstyles overall or just dreads? For example, does the policy state that men can’t wear long hair (regardless of race) and it must be kept neat and/or short? What about facial hair? I would like to know why men can’t wear dreads but women can. I would like to know all the facts before forming an opinion.

    • Right, Coco! Perhaps there is a policy in place that states no long hair on men,period. That would mean all men with long hair straight or locked. If not, then of course this is a case of discrimination.

    • Thats probably what it is….I worked for an airline and men could not have hair past the collar and had to be clean shaven but you know this is all for shock value so the media will not tell you everything. they most likely gave him the option to cut them to company length OR this wig and he chose the wig (could have chosen a better wig but ok). The reason women with dreds do not have that problem is that they typically have long hair and it go past the collar….in those situations women are only required to keep their hair back in a ponytail and/or in a bun. I honestly dont think this is about race/personal opinion on dreds/and all that other jazz that people are making it out to be. Now if it turns out later Im wrong then so be it but based off my personal experience as a flight attendant….its simply because company policy does not allow for men to have hair below the collar, like most companies.

      • yep, I was wondering if there was a black hole in that wig cuz I cannot explain how he could fit these dreads in there otherwise.

        • LOL I was thinking the same thing! And I agree with other posters that the wig looks silly. I do know that some companies have a hair length limit as part of the dress code, though (I read that PanAm stewardesses had to have their hair above chin length in the 50s!) so it could be a length issue. Maybe women are allowed to wear locs because the dress code allows them to wear their hair long but men can’t, so his supervisor just jumped to have him cover it up? If they don’t expressly forbid it, though, he shouldn’t be forced.

    • lol, May be he chopped some of his hair off to fit it in. I think it’s a dumb move. I mean, how come they are now having problems with him now? what about in the beginning when he started growing out his locs?

  4. Yes he needed to cover his locks. I am a female with locks and find locks on a man unattractive. I think the rule would apply differently to a woman because as such we are already expected to have some kind of long hair or some kind of styling. If his look is not in line with company policy then the company should have thought about that before they hired him. If he needs this job really bad then he has to pay the piper, suck it up and wear a wig.

    • Are you for real?!! “Yes he needed to cover his locks”*****because you find it unattractive. I find it unattractive also but thats no reason for him to cover up! I find muscular men unattractive, green eyes, grey hair etc. Should people cover up because they are not my preference?

      • I agree chluck, that’s an absolute ridiculous reasoning.

        Permalink– there’s a club in NY, Greenhouse that recently lost a lawsuit for not allowing minorities into their establishment. Do you know what the defense of their bouncers was? That they choose the most attractive women on line and they simple don’t find black women attractive. It truly saddens me to hear you use the same reasoning to justify discrimination. :-(

    • Well see THATS the issue.. too many people with PERSONAL OPINIONS think that its okay to try and control another persons way of living. You can find it unattractive all you want, but all in all it is his choice to wear his hair how HE likes it.. and in that factor, no one else matters.

  5. I am sorry but when I saw with him with the wig, I laughed so hard!

    Anyway, let’s get back to the subject,

    I wonder what it was wearing when they gave him the job?

    I actually like men with locks and his look clean and neat

    • Ok, I’ll admit it…I did chuckle when I seen that wig, now I feel bad lol. Anywho, good point. I wonder how his hair was when they hired him? And I wonder what their policies about appearance are/were? In uniformed positions I know their are different requirements between men and women about hair. When I say this, the armed forces come to mind and my own personal experience. Some armed forces have issues with natural hair on women…but that’s another beast I won’t even get into lol. I didn’t know flight attendants have the same standards. But still I think his locs looked fine the way he had them braided and tucked under before he put the wig on.

    • You are NOT the only one who felt that way. I’m really not sure why they would chose that wig! Can the people behind Sam Jackson’s hair pieces help him out?

      But back to the topic; that is unfortunate that a hairstyle can be prohibited. Many companies want people to be complacent, especially if you are servicing customers. Hopefully his petition will help them understand that people want to wear their hair how they wish, but I doubt it. If that is the rule he may want to work for a company that welcomes diversity.

      But I need that wig GONE!

      • “Can the people behind Sam Jackson’s hair pieces help him out?”


        • lol I’m not gonna lie I clicked on the linked about to be outraged but had to burst out laughing after seeing the pic of him in that funny looking wig. Seriously they couldn’t find a better wig or at least give him an afro textured But back to the seriousness of the topic they need to change that policy, his locs aren’t hurting anyone. That pic with the wig is so

  6. How long has he been a flight attendant?? I ask this because his locs are mature, and therefore, he’s had them for some time. If he’s just gotten the job, that’s one thing(and it should’ve been mentioned by the company that hired him) If he’s been w/them for a while, why the sudden change in rules?!?

    • if I understand correctly from the video he’s been there since 98, I think he grows the locks while on the job.

      the Air France executive guy pretty much said we have more important thing to worry about that someone complaint abt hairstyle SMH!

      God Bless America!
      not that we’re better i’m sure this sort of things happen here all the time but a huge company like that couldn’t sit a news series dismissing someone right and get away with it!!!

      you too busy to look over a 1 page complaint but have time to come sit with the news cast to talk about?? really frenchy?

      my MIL use to nickname me frenchy im suddenly very embarrased!!

      • Lol we are definitely not better in America. They won’t even allow dreadlocks for women in some branches of the military. I know my friend has to go to the Army because the Air Force doesn’t allow it. & the the worse thing is that I see some ratty micro braids by some of these airmen. You should not have year of new growth and still think thats acceptable. :/ Hopefully regulations change.

  7. This is discrimination at its finest. And that bone straight wig looks absolutely ridiculous, I would question the mental health of someone wearing a wig like that, and well I question the mental health of the people enforcing this rule.

  8. hi i’m a french reader too!! so excuse me for my mistakes
    it seem to me that i’ve already heard about this affair
    but i’m not suprise, it’s sad for him but i know that in my contry (french guaina) a man who had locs, had to cut his hair to keep his job.
    And his boss was black i don’t think that the issue is his hair but we know that it’s not good présentation for a big part of the population

    • I have a female friend whose parents are from Guaina and guess what, she’s a flight attendant for Air France.
      I haven’t spoken to her for a while but i would be interested to know if she has heard of this news.
      The wig is a major distraction it’s ridiculous. I can imagine people on his flight having a hard time keeping a straight face, i know i’d find it hard. Seriously the air line needs to rethink this one.

  9. First, that wig looks like a dusty chimney sweep brush from a Charles Dickens novel. As a passenger, that’d scare the hell out of me.

    Secondly, I’d like to know what the policies of hair styling are. Usually jobs that require a uniform have a more detailed policies about how to wear your hair than jobs where people don’t wear uniforms. For example, the US military has requirements and definitely aren’t discriminating when they say everyone will be “dress-right-dress”. Even working in a hotel, my friend had to bun her hair to make it look “neater”. This could be an issue of the length of his dreads, or the company not liking dreads on employees. If he feels he has a case, I’d definitely sue or force them to change their policy or make it more clear. There has to be more to this story because there’s still some gray area.

    • I’m a military spouse and they like to pick and choose when they want to enforce the regulations. I’ve seen people get briefed for having neat locked hair while other members have unkempt hair and had not a word said to them. Point is for men or women people just have an aversion to locks period and its irritating because everyone I know who has them has nice neat styles.

  10. (french people here so excuse my english)

    Every job has rules, Air France workers have too. And there are rules for your hair. A woman can wear them short or if she has long hair can wear them into a neat ponytail or neat bun. Men have to wear them short, long hair or braids are not allowed. My point being that this man knew it before he applied, and before he signed the contract. So I don’t really understand his point since he knew he couldn’t wear his hair the way he wants.

    • Oh ok, so Air France does have hair rules. Since I didn’t understand the French I wasn’t sure. Thanks for clarifying :-)

    • If they weren’t allowed why was he hired? Like an earlier poster said, his dreads do look mature, so I would assume he had them when he was hired….. I’d like to know how long he has been working for the company as well.

      • Since 98. He grew his dreads while working there, so I agree with the company. If they say men have to have short hair they have to have short hair. He should be glad they let him wear the wig instead of just firing him.

  11. I don’t feel as if it is an attack on his race but rather an attack on his gender. If the airline allows for black women to wear the exact hairstyle then it cannot be an attack on his race. It is an attack on his indentity as a man but nevertheless, you can not separate the layers that come together to create his identity. The airline obviously has an opinion as to the image a man should portray…from there the airline’s decision could be deeply rooted in racism (“what a white man is most likely to look like in this day and age doesn’t allow space for any other cultures)but not surface-wise.

  12. Sounds like this country (US) about 30 years ago. It’s so ridiculous, but I suppose as the wearing of natural hairstyles becomes more “mainstream,” corporations are going to have to address these issues. The crazy part is that if they are allowing women to wear locks, why is his hair a problem? As an aside, that wig looks really stupid!

    • The natural hair scene is not as developped as in the US. Not many wear their hair natural and not many men let it grow past a certain length so I guess it could be a factor.

  13. I can understand if they dont’ want thier male employees to have long hair. I don’t belive it has anything to do with his dreads per se..

  14. Most companies have appearance rules, so the fact that he isn’t suppose to wear his locs isn’t surprising (there are rules like that in the US). That being said, this isn’t racism because it isn’t across the board (females aren’t included), it’s just men, so it’s sexist. But if you think about, a lot of companies in the US don’t allow men to wear their hair long, so it’s in the same field as that. With all this being said though, why didn’t they say this when he was hired. He should’ve been notified when they offered him the position, so he could’ve decided if he wanted to take it or not.

    Honestly though, I would let him wear his locs because that wig looks terrible…

  15. Im flight atendant as well and I think that is not a problem… It calls Groomming regulations! Nothing to do with racism. Im my airline, girls are just alowed to have pony tail if the hais is completly straight! Is not a big deal!!

      • totally correct… seems to me tha we now live in a world where people believe that everything is fueled by racisim or discrimnation.. forgetting about other basic rules and regulations that are to be applied across the border

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