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United Airlines to train flight attendants to stop passengers from watching porn onboard

United Airlines to train flight attendants to stop passengers from watching porn onboard

A United Airlines airplane is being taxied at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. | Unsplash/Tim Gouw

United Airlines is now training flight attendants to intervene when passengers watch pornography on their personal devices as part of an effort to curb the increase of porn viewing on airplanes, according to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. 

United flight attendants alerted the nonprofit watchdog that their airline last month began providing new training on topics of pornography and sexual harassment. 

A United Airlines spokesperson confirmed to NCOSE that the new training is taking place. 

“The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority. Sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, intimidation or predation have absolutely no place anywhere in our society — including, and especially, in our industry and on our aircraft,” a United Airlines statement shared with NCOSE reads. 

“In 2018, we strengthened our training for flight attendants to recognize, address and respond to instances of sexual harassment of any kind onboard our aircraft and will continue to adapt and enhance this training moving forward.”

NCOSE listed United Airlines on its 2019 “Dirty Dozen List” of “mainstream” companies and entities considered to be "facilitators of sexual exploitation in our society and culture."

Among NCOSE’s concerns was that United Airlines employees were ill-prepared to “address the growing problem of viewing pornography on airplanes.” 

NCOSE called United out for instances in which employees failed to intervene when men satisfied themselves while watching pornography in close proximity to others onboard.

United’s statement shared with NCOSE declared that United Airlines recognizes the need to “ensure that our policies reflect our values and safeguard those traveling with us.”

NCOSE Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach Haley Halverson said that in recent years, the number of passengers who watch pornography on their personal devices while on airplanes has increased dramatically. 

Because United Airlines has updated its training, NCOSE said it will remove United from its Dirty Dozen List. 

“Many airlines have policies on paper that prohibit such content, but they are not adequately training their in-flight crews or support staff to ensure they are consciously aware the policy exists or know how to enforce it,” Halverson said in a statement. 

“When this lack of clarity and training existed, before they began in-person trainings, United aircrews previously resorted to giving alleged ‘hush’ money or even openly joking about these cases of sexual harassment. This left passengers vulnerable and isolated to endure a toxic sexual environment without recourse.”

NCOSE’s 2020 Dirty Dozen List will be released on Thursday. 

In December, United Airlines agreed to pay $321,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit backed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Under the terms of the settlement, United Airlines agreed to amend its policies to ban online sexual harassment.  

The lawsuit alleged that a senior United pilot repeatedly posted online lewd images of a flight attendendant with whom he previously had a consensual romantic relationship. He did not have her consent to share the images.

The pilot, who is now retired, was reportedly sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after he continued posting the lewd photos and refused to remove them. Despite that, United Airlines reportedly took no disciplinary action against the pilot and even allowed him to retire with full benefits. 

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