Keke Palmer says TSA tried to make her throw out her pumped breastmilk

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Like her latest album, Keke Palmer is a “Big Boss” making boss moves. It seems like she hasn’t slowed down since welcoming her first child at the end of February. There was the new album and accompanying docu-film, her content hub, the Vanguard Award, the Met Gala, and I’m sure many other things because Keke is always moving. Except her latest travel experience didn’t go smoothly at all. Keke took to Twitter to call out TSA at the Houston airport for breast milk discrimination — they almost made her throw out 16 oz of milk.

Standing up for herself — and for moms everywhere. Keke Palmer slammed the Houston airport for what she called “breast milk discrimination.”

The Nope star, 29, took to Twitter on Monday, June 12, to detail her experience at the Texas airport, claiming the TSA threatened to throw out her breast milk supply.

“Breast milk discrimination at the Houston airport ruined my mood. I should’ve popped my tit out right then because the discretion and comfort of pumping is thwarted with threats to throw out over 16oz my babies food?!?!!! Why is that not a crime??” the Nickelodeon alum — who welcomed son Leodis with boyfriend Darius Jackson in February — tweeted. “I’M A MOTHER for crying out loud 😩😢.”

Despite the drama, Palmer “is blissfully happy” in her role as a new mom, an insider exclusively reveals in the newest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now. “Leo’s got a lively personality, and he keeps Keke and Darius on their toes.” Though “the sleepless nights have been a struggle … Darius has been a huge help, and Leo is just a joy.”

While she may be exhausted, the Scream Queens alum hasn’t slowed down for a second since the birth of her first child, releasing her new album, Big Boss, and its accompanying film, in May. She’s also lent her voice talents to the animated series Human Resources and The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder since 2022.

[From US Weekly]

From her Tweet, it sounds like Keke was traveling with her baby, but pumped in advance, as one does for convenience, comfort, and privacy. But TSA almost made her throw out the breast milk because it was above the allotted amount of liquid per carry-on. Except breast milk, formula, baby food, and all accoutrements are considered medically necessary and are therefore exempt from the usual requirements. I’m not a mom and even I knew that, but apparently this TSA agent didn’t. Airport/airline workers should know their stuff, but I also kind of always expect problems at all times so I do things like screenshot the rules for traveling with pets just in case someone tries to give me a hard time. But I’m surprised there was an issue with breast milk because I thought this was a well-known thing. I wonder if Keke or someone with her just reasoned with them or had to literally pulled up the requirements on their phone to avoid the milk being wasted. (I’m also always surprised to read about celebs having problems like these because I usually assume there are assistants present to make things go smoothly, but TSA can always make anything bumpy). Anyway, airports always find a way to be stressful, and it’s good Keke didn’t actually have to throw out her breast milk.

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34 Responses to “Keke Palmer says TSA tried to make her throw out her pumped breastmilk”

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  1. Sarem says:

    I have twins. They were breastfed and I travel for work. This happened to me SO often and it is so ridiculous.

  2. FeedMeChips says:

    I travel with my baby–now 18 months–pretty regularly. He needs Pediasure for medical reasons so I always bring plenty in a carry on. I’m always afraid of being hassled about it but nothing terrible had had happened yet. I have been told to go through the scanner an extra time while holding the bottles though. Of course, it only takes one unreasonable TSA blowhard to create a problem that doesn’t need to exist.

  3. Yup, Me says:

    I’ve breastfed two babies (and we do extended breastfeeding, until they are 2.5 years old). I’m a big fan of whipping out a boob in protest.

    It sucks that this happened to Keke though. Being a mother of an infant is stressful enough. We don’t need any added stressors.

    And I hope Keke is getting enough rest and plenty of support. She has so much going on for having just had a baby. She’s going to need to take a good nourishing break and recharge before it all catches up with her.

  4. Molly says:

    Yeah, ok, it’s supposed to go through. (Mom here; understand the need to take it, I travel too.) But “breast mild discrimination”? Come on. A stupid agent, sure. Let’s keep our heads. And “I’M A MOTHER for crying out loud”. Stop. This is what’s wrong with Twitter. Whoever she is she’s lost all perspective of what real, actual, problems are.

    • Emily says:

      Feeding a child is a real, actual problem.

      • Molly says:

        For people who are unable to afford food, yes. Absolutely. But that ain’t her. And it’s not discrimination, or a crime, for God’s sake, to dicker about 16 oz of pumped milk with an ill-informed TSA agent. NOTE that she’s NOT complaining about not having food for her surely well-provided and -cared for child … she’s annoyed at being *denied the comfort* of having pumped. Spoiled her MOOD. Her words. Let’s not conflate things. That particular child being in danger of not being fed is not in any way a real, actual problem.

      • Colleen says:

        @Molly, I’m a “normal” person (aka not wealthy by any means) and when my son was 5-months-old, we had a TSA agent dump out my pumped breast milk AND I, the bottles, and the baby stroller were all taken aside and a subjected to the chemical testing and patdown. They also threw out my newly purchased clay ice packs that I bought specifically bc they were not liquid (they told me there was “too much condensation” on them.) It sucked so badly. We had bought him a seat (cross-country flight) and I was hoping to not disrupt him from the car seat by having to whip out a boob but that ended up happening anyway.

    • FeedMeChips says:

      This is a very bad take, Molly.

      • Molly says:

        No, it’s really not. See above.

      • Lurker 25 says:

        Second the comment that this is bad take Molly.

        We’re not in a position to understand why you’re triggered and defensive about this. But breast milk and breast feeding is no one’s business but the mother and child’s. The law recognizes this – finally- so why be so quick to dismiss when that right gets disregarded?

        * I couldn’t pump at all. Had to have squeeze an ounce or two drop by drop. Had utterly humiliating and invasive comments about it from doctors, strangers, even family. Was told my very light child was “underfed” that I was breastfeeding bc of my own “ego”… They only shut up when he was fully on solids, they could see he ate like a horse and was still light as a feather.

        The idea that 16oz of breast milk could be casually tossed in the trash 😱

    • J says:

      “I’m a mom, so I get to judge when things are problems. Since I’ve never had to deal with this, it it therefore not a problem!” Molly have you ever breastfed and pumped to feed your child? If so, then maybe you’d understand why it would be upsetting to be told to dump 16oz of milk. Perhaps from your attitude breastfeeding and pumping was a breeze and Milk flowed like crazy…. Spectacular! However that is not every mothers experience and belittling her and her experience “ain’t it”. The problem, Molly, it seems are ppl like you.

      • Molly says:

        Yes, breastfed and pumped. Past a year both kids. Careful on the assumptions. Again, she is NOT complaining about her need for the food. Doesn’t even mention the child. She is complaining about her inconvenience. It’s not.the.same.thing. And using words like “discrimination” and “crime” and declaring “I AM A MOTHER” (which, by the way, makes her “I’m a mom, so I get to judge when things are problems.”) are hijacking real injustices in this world. I never said feeding a child or needing the milk or difficulty pumping wasn’t a problem. (Neither did she.) I said it wasn’t a problem for *her* whiney-they-made-a-mistake-and-wrecked-my-MOOD self.

        Now, if she’d have used her reach to raise any of the valid point you have all raised, whether she experienced them herself or not – she could have made a truly useful post saying, Hey, people, make yourself prepared and aware of the flying rules in case you run into the mistake that happened to me. And to the TSA, please be sure your people are well trained.

        That’s not what she did. Her post was about her annoyance.

      • Ameerah M says:

        You trying to tone police a Black woman for her use of the words discrimination and crime is frankly ridiculous. And you saying “whatever her name is” is beyond disrespectful. Her name is in the title of the story YOU’RE commenting on hun. Stop playing obtuse.

    • ML says:

      I breastfed my babies for their first 12 months and Keke’s experience happened to me. Pumping milk sucked—I felt like a cow, it wasn’t as comfortable as the baby, and my kids didn’t accept formula. That agent should know that babyfood is allowed through, and threatening a baby’s food supply is sick. Breastfeeding is also taking a bit more out of Keke than just giving a bottle, and if it’s possible, everyone knows that this is the best food for a child. The agent was totally out of line. If this is happening to Keke, it’s also happening to others: way to go for calling this out!

    • Mcali02 says:

      She has every right to be pissed. It used to take me hours to pump a few ounces of breast milk. When I went through TSA and they told me to throw my breast milk away you are damn right I stood up for myself until they finally came and tested it. Your comment is so damn sexist and I am too f-ing tired to list all the reasons why.

      • molly says:

        There is nothing sexist about it. See above.

      • Mcali02 says:

        You don’t get to tell me what is sexist. But I did “see above” as you suggested. No one agrees with you.

      • Tursitops says:

        @Mcali02 I’m all for respectful discussions of differences of opinion, but not when they are followed or prefaced by “No one agrees with you.” That is not relevant to the discussion.

        Express your opinion, defend your position but keep it civil and acknowledge that you can only make points for yourself, not speak for others.

      • molly says:

        @tursitops, thank you. I have only presented my position. I didn’t ridicule “women” as one said. I didn’t disagree with any of the points that it was wrong to stop her, that this is a real, actual TSA problem, that feeding babies can be a real, actual problem, that obviously dealing with breastfeeding is a right, or any of the other things I’m being attacked for. And yes, I can say that I don’t think it’s sexist or discriminatory. I would expect a man carrying a bottle through would have the same – or even greater – difficulties. Because dads too, right? And to be clear – I am a female, and a mother. And a businessperson. I know all about sexism.

        My point remains that using words like “discrimination”, “crime”, and now “sexist” is utter hyperbole that undermines legitimate uses for them. Please don’t come at me about solidarity; she isn’t out to change the world. None of the scenarios that are being tossed around here (legitimately) had anything to do with what.she.actually.said. She was annoyed and it wrecked her mood. Fine – I would be too. But words matter.

      • Coco says:


        First off her name is KeKe not “ Whoever she is” it’s in the title.

        Secondly you did ridicule Keke and tone policed her comments and words because “you” know better. Keke is a black women in America she knows exactly (what real, actual, problems are) so you can have two seats .

      • Mcali02 says:

        @Tursitops I am not speaking for others. They spoke for themselves. And I don’t need anyone to police my response either.

        @Coco Thank you! 100% agree with you!

    • Sarem says:

      Wow. What happened to solidarity among women? Can’t training the TSA and calling them out when they do silly stuff like this be good for all moms? I’m done breastfeeding, does that mean I should ridicule women who care about this bc some people have “real problems”?

    • Suze says:

      No, that is absolutely a real actual problem. The TSA agent did not know the rules of their own organization and hassled her. And 16oz is not a small amount to waste – that’s four feedings! I would cry if I had to throw out four whole bags that I’d pumped.

      • Sarem says:

        Exactly. Anyone who pumped knows how long that takes and knows that much milk is liquid gold, especially during those growth spurts. I saw a TSA agent harassing a mom with a pump on my last flight and hung around to use my lawyer voice and help because they aren’t supposed to do that and it does seem like the men do it just because break milk grosses them out.

    • Rachel says:

      This hot take is absolute trash, with a side of Bitter Mom Energy.

      First time I’ve ever commented on a post in the 10+ years as a Celebitchy fan, slow clap for Molly here. I wish you unmitigated hell every time you fly from now on, next to a screaming, hungry child.

  5. Murphy says:

    This happens at every airport in every line EVERY DAY. None of them are trained on this, it’s like they skipped that chapter of the manual bc they are grossed out by it.

    • Liz says:

      TSA is so hit or miss with this. We had to go BACK through security to dump our toddlers water (I usually do because they are so inconsistent). You basically have to be prepared with evidence, which is ridiculous. Also having to backtrack through an entire security line with a pissed off 2 year old just to dump their water (that was allowed anyway!) is not great.

      Even water for toddlers is allowed: “formula, breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby/toddler food (to include puree pouches) in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag. Formula, breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby/toddler food (to include puree pouches) are considered medically necessary liquids. “

      • Suze says:

        They really are hit or miss! I’ve been quite lucky in my experiences, but it is still nerve-wracking. I was coming back from a conference where I’d had to pump all week, and had a cooler full of (mostly) frozen breast milk storage bags. I was terrified I was going to lose all of it because my crappy hotel mini fridge had a crappy freezer section. Luckily it was a very small quiet airport (shoutout Chattanooga!) and a friendly agent, so he let me through with no hassle. But if I’d been told to throw it out I would have wept in frustration.

  6. ThatsNotOkay says:

    When in doubt, hand your meds or breast milk to the agent at security and tell them what it is so they can go through it by hand while you put the rest of your sh*t on the conveyor belt and go through the scanner. In fact, don’t send your baby’s food through the X-ray machines, full stop. You can absolutely get exemptions since no one can force you to irradiate your kid’s meal.

  7. Jules says:

    Not breastmilk but I got pulled out and fully searched for bringing baby food pouches. I was given the option of throwing out the food or submit to a full search including having each pouch meticulously swabbed for bomb material. Since my kid needed that food on the flight I did the latter. By the time it was over I was in tears. The agent that handled the food really was awful. The woman they brought in to search me was kinder.

  8. KeiraPug says:

    In my experience it was the gate agent who didn’t understand that all breastfeeding accoutrements are medically necessary and threatened to not let me continue to board because I had an extra bag (stored milk and pumping equipment). We’re talking screaming at me to “comply with the rules or I would not board”. Airline employees don’t know the rules either.
    Another time, while traveling with my baby, I packed those single serving powdered formula sticks that you just mix with water, thinking that it would be less of a hassle than trying to board with liquids. Nope, that just earned me and baby (who I was literally wearing) a TSA pat down and baggage search.

  9. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    I guess I’m in the minority, but I don’t see a problem with having TSA swab items that are exceptions to the banned liquids? I mean, a real terrorist wouldn’t mind using an innocent child (or a “medical condition” or a wheelchair, etc.) as a vehicle to get past security, right? Or am I wrong?

  10. Amy Tennant says:

    Oh hell no. That stuff was liquid gold. Anyone who ever said don’t cry over spilt milk has never knocked over a bottle they just pumped