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21 May, 2020 10:11

'Shining a light on assaults on men': NFL player sues airline after female passenger 'ripped off his mask & GRABBED HIS PENIS'

'Shining a light on assaults on men': NFL player sues airline after female passenger 'ripped off his mask & GRABBED HIS PENIS'

An unidentified NFL player is aiming to "shine a light on assaults made on men" as part of a lawsuit alleging that an intoxicated female flyer who was taking prescription pills made "unwanted sexual advances" on a red-eye flight.

The footballer, who has only been described as an African American alongside his fellow complainant, has claimed that a “middle-aged Caucasian female” continued her advances despite four complaints to staff, telling the player he looked “frightening” in a mask worn to protect against COVID-19 infection, according to the lawsuit.

Pursuing a jury trial, the papers said that the woman, who was intoxicated and taking prescription pills on the flight between Los Angeles and Newark in February, ripped off the player's face mask and grabbed his penis as the situation on the red-eye flight escalated.

The player is seeking "compensatory and punitive damages" for seven charges including sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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Naming the men under the pseudonyms of “John Doe 1” and “John Doe 2” for legal purposes, a statement from law firm Darwish against United Airlines said the action was being brought in a bid to ensure flyers who encounter assaults on overnight flights are no longer ignored.

“We bring this lawsuit with the hope that it will be one of the last of its kind,” they announced, filing the case in Los Angeles.

“[These] instances could have been prevented, if not the harm reduced, had United’s personnel simply taken action sooner.

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“Our goal is to shine a light on how assaults can and are being made on men, not just women...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.”

Attorneys Darren Darwish and Benji Azizian added that sexual assaults “continue to be an ongoing problem” and are particularly prevalent on red-eye flights, and said that the FBI had warned airlines in 2018 about the “alarming rate” at which those assaults were increasing.

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The airline did not comment on the lawsuit. In December, when a United passenger was indicted for allegedly sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman on a flight in July 2018, spokesperson Erin Benson told USA Today: "The safety and well-being of our customers is our top priority.

"Sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, intimidation or predation have absolutely no place anywhere in our society – including in our industry and on our aircraft.”

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