NFL Player Sues United Airlines Over Sexual Harassment

Filed Under: United

Unfortunately we hear of cases of sexual harassment on planes more often than we should. When flying, people are often “trapped” next to strangers for extended periods of time, there’s alcohol, and people often act in ways that they shouldn’t.

However, this is definitely one of the more unusual airline sexual harassment cases I’ve heard of…

NFL player sues United Airlines

A civil suit was filed this Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and involves what allegedly happened on a February 10 redeye United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Newark.

An NFL player who doesn’t want to release his identity (he’s simply described as an African American male) claims that a middle aged Caucasian female repeatedly sexually harassed, assaulted, and violated him throughout the flight, and the crew did nothing to protect him. There’s another man who was seated in the same row who is making similar claims.

Apparently the passengers complained to flight attendants four times before they took action. They claim that the woman was making “unwanted sexual advances,” including:

  • The first time the men alerted the flight attendants that the woman was disruptive, belligerent, and intoxicated
  • The second time the men alerted the flight attendants was when the woman started making unwanted sexual advances towards the NFL player, massaging his knees and thighs
  • The third time the men alerted the flight attendants was more than an hour into the flight, when the woman grabbed and groped the NFL player
  • The fourth time the men alerted flight attendants was when the woman pulled off the “protective face mask” the NFL player was wearing, and grabbed his genitals

At this point the NFL player got up from his seat and complained loudly in front of the plane. He then went to the rear of the aircraft to complain to the flight attendants, at which point the woman was reseated.

The two men are suing United Airlines because the airline refused to follow policies to respond to sexual harassment and assault, and the airline also refused to give them the name of the woman, the flight attendants, and potential witnesses. They claim this is a breach of United Airlines’ duty to protect and care for passengers.

The two men are seeking unspecified statutory and punitive damages from the airline.

What the law firm behind the lawsuit says

The two men are being represented by The Darwish Law Firm, which released a statement saying the following:

We bring this lawsuit with the hope that it will be one of the last of its kind. Our wish would be that in the future no passenger’s multiple warnings and complaints to flight attendants, the onboard authority figure, will go unheard until it’s too late and the damage has been done. This matter is unfortunately based on several instances of assault — physical, sexual, and verbal — on a “red-eye” United Airlines, Inc. flight. Instances that could have been prevented, if not the harm reduced, had United’s personnel simply taken action sooner.

In-flight sexual assaults continue to be an ongoing problem during commercial flights, particularly during “red-eye” flights. In 2018, the FBI issued strict warnings to airlines, including United, about the number of sexual assaults increasing ‘at an alarming rate.’ United has an obligation to keep its passengers safe.

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. Those who report assaults should not be ignored, but believed, their claims investigated, and appropriate action taken where warranted.

Our goal is to shine a light on how assaults can, and are, being made on men, and not just women. This is significant because assault is assault, regardless of the gender, race, and physical attributes of the victim. Once these characteristics are added into the equation, the usual stigma and social stereotypes associated with sexual assaults are amplified.

Bottom line

This is definitely an unconventional airplane sexual harassment story, since these cases almost always involve men acting inappropriately towards females.

If the claims here are accurate, it’s completely unacceptable that the crew didn’t reseat the passenger despite repeated complaints.

I can’t even figure out why they wouldn’t have taken this seriously. Were they just assuming that the victim was being “playful” and joking about it, and didn’t mind it, or how can one complain multiple times about something like this without the crew taking it seriously?

(Tip of the hat to Mike)

Comments
  1. Wow, what a crazy story. If the facts are as they say and United didn’t move this woman (and refused to help contact law enforcement) then shame on them, and best of luck to these men with their suit.

  2. Had it been an overweight / unattractive caucasian, women suing the airline for an unproven sexual harrassment (that allegedly took place 25 years ago), you can be sure it would make the headlines on all US news channels for at least 3 months.

  3. I would like to see if was the opposite: a man sex harassing a woman.
    Where are the feminists now?
    In that case, probably the flight attendants could take some action.
    Also there is sex harassment coming from woman too.
    In my opinion, there is no excuse from the airline staff for not taking action in a situation like that.
    Bizarre.

  4. LOL @ Real Alpha Male youre probably a balding thirty something sitting in your mums basement is in Hicksville USA

  5. Good luck addressing your deeply rooted insecurities someday, @RealAlphaMale. Hope you’re able to get over your victim complex too.

  6. “This is definitely an unconventional airplane sexual harassment story, since these cases almost always involve men acting inappropriately towards females.” Oh really. And how do you know that to be true? Perhaps men do not report it very often.

  7. @ Alan — Virtually every single study shows that sexual assault harassment is more likely to be done by men towards women, rather than from women towards men. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen the other way around (as we’re seeing here), but are you *really* questioning that?

  8. Hilarious comments from “Beta of the Year” winners aka @Ben L. and @Ex DOH . These are the type of losers that not only have zero game
    but worse, they believe that women are always 100% right in their accusations despite ample evidence suggesting otherwise

  9. LOL Real Alpha Male sounds like the leader of an incel group

    This is a disturbing story and this woman deserves to be fully investigated and prosecuted. I hope these men get the information they need.

  10. @Alan @Lucky. I get what Alan is saying. Having a bit of a background on Women’s studies, Alan does make a valid point. It has been known that men underreport cases of sexual harassment or assault by the opposite sex for fear of being ridiculed or embarrassed. It could be ego and stigma playing a part in that. Nonetheless, what’s wrong is wrong. Hopefully, good news will come soon.

  11. Was he sitting in economy class or business? If business class, I have a feeling all seats were taken already so there were no other seat for that woman to be reseated at but who knows. The FAs should have acknowledged the NFL player’s claims earlier.

  12. Nothing unconventional about it. If it was a female groped by men – they would be in Jail. That’s what’s unconventional.

  13. What sort of man complains about this? What are your American football players, a bunch of nancy boys?

  14. I guess NFL isn’t paying enough these days, they need extra compensation for pain and suffering.

    Interesting note:
    The man is nothing but a witness of NFL and the woman. aka. mind your own business?

    February 10 and “protective face mask”.
    Seems to early for Americans to wear masks.

    pulled off the “protective face mask” the NFL player was wearing, and grabbed his genitals.
    Now, if “protective face mask” is covering his genitals, one could say that is giving some sort of hint right? I mean who covers their genitals with face masks.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, the LAX-EWR redeye is either 772 or 781.
    Assume NFL players fly Polaris or business. You probably can’t be ‘seated in the same row’ and see your seat mate down to their genitals on the Polaris 787. That leaves the old 2-4-2 777.
    So either the NFL and woman was seated on the 2 side and the man on the aisle of the middle 4. If so and the man doesn’t know the NFL player, would he call out “Public indecency” rather than “Sexual Harassment”.
    If the three are in the middle 4, likely they are travelling together. The women was part of the party and things turn south just last week? Revenge?

    Could all this be the NFL Jussie Smollett?

  15. I had this happen to me once, groped by a chubby middle aged woman when I was a teen. I faked a laugh and said no, grabbing her hand. She stopped, not like this woman.

  16. I stopped watching NFL after the African American players started taking a knee during the national anthem. So disrespectful to our country. Then they referred to NFL team owners as rich white slave owners. Funny , I don’t remember slaves being paid millions of dollars.
    Then Colin Kapernick claimed no team would sign him because of his race. Then when the NFL offered him a workout for teams to see he was so embarrassed of how bad his game is he didn’t even bother showing up. The guy was adopted by caucasians and raised in an affluent Northern California community. Tell me all about how African Americans are being oppressed in America.

  17. Holy shit Ben, why does your comments section turn into a Trump rally the minute you talk about a black person?

  18. This went about as one might expect with the usual infestation of racists and chauvinists that seem to have infested the site of late. I don’t know why these people come here when when they have 4Chan and the Fox News comment section to spew their verbal diarrhoea over. Any place right wing seppos show up instantly becomes a septic tank; the nickname is well earned.

  19. @Joe if you’re from down under I respect the AFL and rugby players . The NFL players do have more speed and better conditioning. Even with the helmets and pads there are concussions.

    Lighten up people. It’s an article about the NFL. Expect some locker room talk in the comments section.

  20. @D3KingAmerican – I’m pretty damn sure you still watch the NFL, you just felt the need to race bait just like a Trump disciple..classy

  21. @UA-NYC

    Yes eventually I started watching again. I wasn’t going to stop watching football forever. Go Cowboys ! America’s favorite team. Murcia.

  22. @Real Alpha Male

    The trouble with naming yourself “Real Alpha Male” is the same as naming yourself “Super Smart Dude”; you come off the complete opposite of what you intended.

  23. @D3KingAmerican “ America’s favorite team. Murcia.” says it all really.
    Murcia, f*** yeah!

    No wonder everyone loves you guys!

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