updated 8/1/2004 9:55:28 PM ET 2004-08-02T01:55:28

A couple returning home from a Costa Rican vacation was ejected from an American Airlines flight because the man was wearing a T-shirt depicting a bare breast.

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Oscar Arela and his girlfriend were removed from Flight 952 on Saturday after he refused to change the shirt or turn it inside out at Miami International Airport.

The couple, who were making a connecting flight, said nobody on their earlier flight objected to the shirt and claimed the airline violated their constitutional right to free speech.

“It’s a picture of a man and woman, and the woman’s breast is showing,” said his girlfriend, Tala Tow. “The flight attendant basically walked up to us and yelled, ’You have to take off that shirt right now.”’

American spokesman Tim Wagner said Sunday that crew members acted properly, and said the shirt was more graphic than the couple described. The airline gave them a refund, he said.

Wagner noted on American’s Web site the policy clearly states that someone who is “clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offense to other passengers” can be removed from a flight.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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