Censored image of Delta passenger watching the Delta-provided "Hustlers" movie in-flight
January 9, 2020

An Open Letter to Delta for Providing Sexually Explicit In-Flight Films

To Delta Airlines:

You may remember me. A few years ago, a video of me went viral after I saw a man openly watching violent hardcore pornography featuring young girls on a Delta flight. And if you don’t remember this part: Delta did nothing to stop it.

After my family and I experienced weeks of harassment for standing up for the rights of women and girls to not be sexually exploited, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation began a campaign to demand airlines reinforce their policies on pornography use on flights. Delta told us then that they would develop a policy and train their flight crew on how to deal with the problem of passengers openly watching pornography and sexually explicit material on their flights. But evidence emerged showing that Delta continued to do nothing when another incident in 2017 resulted in yet another man openly watching explicit pornography on a flight. Once again, it was up to a lone female passenger to stand up for the right to fly free from sexual exploitation.

It’s now 2020 and the fight still continues. Delta is still leaving its passengers to fend for themselves when it comes to exposure to explicit content on Delta flights. But this time the sexually explicit content in question is actually being provided by Delta.

On a flight I took on January 8, 2020, with my young son, I witnessed a woman watching the movie Hustlers on the seatback screen right next to me. Hustlers may not be hardcore pornography, but it’s still a movie that required a parental advisory warning on the screen and a movie which includes multiple sexually graphic scenes. Even the man on the other side of me said he was uncomfortable with the content that was playing. One can’t just ignore the screens that Delta places right in front of our faces.

This is not an isolated incident. Please read this other letter sent to you on January 7, 2020 from another concerned parent, one of your platinum customers, who experienced the same problem on a different Delta flight. Additionally, the following video contains visual evidence provided by the same concerned parent who wrote the letter about what she experienced on her January 7 flight.

Hustlers glamorizes the story of a group of former strip club dancers who attempt to get revenge on the men who consume their bodies for entertainment. But the reality of strip clubs is no glamorous movie set featuring Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B being paid a fair wage.

As the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has explained previously, strip clubs and other entertainment clubs are found to create “no-go zones” for women in cities. This means that just having a strip club present in a particular area of town creates an environment that women consider to be dangerous and problematic as they are faced with sexual propositions from strangers and being cat-called and harassed while being perceived as strippers or hookers. Women learn to avoid these certain parts of the city–especially during the night. Strip clubs set up a social environment that “fosters male privilege and dominance . . . It’s not just ‘harmless fun’ but a system that legitimizes the larger infrastructures of sexual exploitation and stereotypes oppressing women.”

We can’t ignore the blatant misogyny and normalization of sexual objectification, exploitation, and violence that Hustlers promotes. So why can Delta as it provides this exploitative content to its passengers?

We, your customers, demand that you provide a space in your aircrafts that will enable your passengers to fly free from sexual exploitation.


Dawn Hawkins

Executive Director and Senior Vice President

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Take Action to Let Delta Executives Know That They Have a Duty to Their Customers to Provide Travel Free from Sexual Exploitation

Dawn Hawkins

Chief Executive Officer

Dawn Hawkins is CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the leading organization exposing the connections between all forms of sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking, prostitution, pornography, and child sexual abuse. Dawn’s energy, creativity and mobilization skills are deployed to build a world free from sexual violence, with freedom and human dignity for all.

Dawn is deeply committed to bipartisan political solutions at the federal and state level. Her issue expertise, visionary initiatives, and innovative strategy have led to groundbreaking change in the legislative arena and in multimillion-dollar corporate policies.

Dawn has been instrumental in re-imaging the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She has centered the need to address buyer demand for commercial sex, called out corporate entities facilitating exploitation through the annual Dirty Dozen List, fostered an international movement, and constantly: advocates for survivors. Her work has sparked change at Google, Hilton Worldwide, Comcast, Walmart, the Department of Defense, Instagram, TikTok, and other influential firms. Dawn has appeared on many television programs, including CNN, Fox & Friends, and Good Morning America. She regularly authors articles and speaks around the country addressing the public health harms of pornography, curbing demand for sex trafficking, protecting children and families in our digital world, and more.

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