An NFL player has filed a lawsuit against United Airlines since flight staff ignored numerous complaints as he and another man were sexually harassed and assaulted by a female passenger on a February red-eye flight.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court by the unidentified player and another man, accuses United Airlines of failing to have enforced policies and procedures that protect passengers from assault. The said United flight was scheduled for 11:15 pm.
The player claims that despite multiple complaints, the woman was moved only after she allegedly continued her groping and ripped a mask off the athlete’s face. Attorneys for the men said in a statement,
Those who report assaults should not be ignored, but believed, their claims investigated, and appropriate action taken where warranted.
The attorneys also cited a 2018 FBI report that found the number of sexual assaults reported during commercial airline flights was increasing “at an alarming rate.” According to the FBI, the bulk of the incidents happen on red-eye overnight flights.
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United Airlines in their justification claimed the safety and well-being of its customers is its top priority. Spokesperson Rachael Rivas told CNN in a statement:
In this instance, the customer involved was moved to a different seat. Because litigation is now pending, we’re unable to provide further comment.
The lawsuit alleges that during the flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, John Doe 1 (the NFL player) and John Doe 2 shared a row with their alleged assailant, whom the two men believed to be intoxicated.
The two men allege the woman initially began harassing the NFL player about the fact that he was wearing a face mask due to concerns about increasing reports of the dangers of coronavirus. The woman allegedly began making sexual advances towards the players and started groping them, who repeatedly asked her to stop, according to the lawsuit.
The two men made three separate complaints to flight staff about the woman’s behavior during this time, according to the suit. The first two complaints were allegedly ignored and the third produced a verbal warning to the passenger. The woman later grabbed the NFL player’s genitals and pulled the mask off his face, the lawsuit said.
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The NFL player left his seat to complain to flight staff, at which point the woman allegedly groped the other man, according to the lawsuit. At this point, flight staff moved the woman to a different seat.
To end the matter, United Airlines gave both men a $150 voucher, the lawsuit says. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Two flight attendants and the woman who allegedly assaulted the two men were included but not identified in the lawsuit, which claims that the airline would not provide their names. Attorneys for the men said,
This matter is about accountability; not just from United but the assailant as well. Those with a duty to others should be held accountable for their failures to uphold their responsibilities.
We wonder if the lapse and non accountability of the airline in taking stern action against accused women, was to do with the gender of assault victims, being male. In a reverse, mainstream media outlets would have run several shows demanding public apology from the carrier for not being able to protect a woman onboard.
The #MeToo campaigners somehow miss out on such stories when the victim is a man!
What is a Red Eye Fight?
A red eye flight is a flight that leaves in the evening or at night, and arrives at the end destination during the day (normally in the morning). Essentially, it is when you take a flight at a time when you would normally be sleeping. Most red eye flights leave late at night after around 2100hrs and arrive early in the morning around 0500hrs or 0600hrs.
The term ‘red-eye’ came about because of the sleepy passengers who would disembark the plane at the end location. Not everyone is able to sleep on planes, and those that can’t tend to stand out with their tired, dry, red eyes.
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