United Airlines logo superimposed over a stock photo of the inside of an airplane passenger cabin
February 3, 2020

STATEMENT – United Airlines, Fighting Sexual Harassment, Starts Training Crews to Stop In-Flight Porn Use

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation Applauds United Airlines for Improving Its Policy and Removes It From the Dirty Dozen List

Washington, DC (February 3, 2020) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation applauds United Airlines for changing its in-person flight attendant training to include the issue of passengers using pornography on the plane. Flight attendants reported to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation that this new topic of training began in January 2020, and a United Airlines spokesperson confirmed to NCOSE that the training is now taking place.

In recent years, incidents have soared of passengers viewing hardcore pornography on their personal devices in tight, closed quarters, leaving fellow passengers and flight crew feeling unsafe, emotionally triggered, and victim to sexual harassment. As a result of the inadequate training to curb sexual assault, The National Center on Sexual Exploitation listed United Airlines on the 2019 Dirty Dozen List. With upgraded training and a dedication to making their airplanes free from pornography and sexual harassment, United Airlines has now been removed from the annual list, which names 12 mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation and abuse. The 2020 Dirty Dozen List will be revealed February 6th at DirtyDozenList.com.

In recent years, the problem of airline passengers watching pornography on their personal devices has increased dramatically,” said Haley Halverson, Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “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. 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.”

“Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to, unwanted sexual advances or attention including physical actions, speech, and viewing pornography in the presence of a child or non-consenting adult,” Halverson added. “The National Center on Sexual Exploitation applauds and thanks United Airlines for recognizing the importance of training flight crews on the topic of pornography, and we call on other airlines to follow United’s example.”

United Airlines provided the following statement to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation:

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. In 2018, we strengthened our training for flight attendants to recognize, address and respond to instances of sexual harassment of any kind on board our aircraft and will continue to adapt and enhance this training moving forward. We recognize the need to continue the discussion among all of our work groups to further ensure that our policies reflect our values and safeguard those traveling with us.

United Airlines spokespersons can be contacted at media.relations@united.com.

Learn more about the 2020 Dirty Dozen List, which will be revealed on February 6th, at DirtyDozenList.com.

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian non-profit and the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.

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