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United Airlines Employee Being Sued for Calling A Passenger A Monkey

United Airlines Employee Being Sued for Calling A Passenger A Monkey
Jackie Reddy

United passenger Cacilie Hughes was waiting for her bags at IAH in February when she approached desk agent Carmella Davano for assistance. She said that Davano began to shout at her and called her a number of racial epithets. Hughes is now taking legal action against the airline over the incident.

A United Airlines passenger is taking legal action against the carrier after she was called a “shining monkey” by a staff member, KPRC2 reports. The incident occurred on February 26th after passenger Cacilie Hughes was waiting to claim her luggage at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and approached United employee Carmella Davano to ask her a question regarding a refund.

Hughes then alleges that Davano began to shout at her, calling her a “shining monkey” and told her that she had a “monkey face”.

Speaking about the incident, Hughes, an actress, said, “It was humiliating. It was demeaning. It was degrading. She [Davano] made me (feel) powerless.”

The incident is said to have occurred in the presence of other passengers, who came to Hughes’ aid. Hughes told the outlet that she was “grateful” for their help.

Offering their comments to the outlet, Hughes’ legal team said, “We are going to fight to enforce Cacilie Hughes’ civil rights, to ensure that United Airlines eliminates its practice of racial discrimination…”

United gave an official statement to the outlet, saying, “At United, we believe that the diversity of our workforce makes us stronger. Together, we proudly hold ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind. This incident is deeply offensive and does not reflect the fundamental values of our company and our 90,000 employees.”

The airline has also confirmed that Davano has been removed from her role as desk agent.

[Image Source: Wikimedia/ Yonikasz]

View Comments (2)


  1. pdsales

    April 25, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    “The airline has also confirmed that Davano has been removed from her role as desk agent.”

    Her new role will be arbitrarily forcing passengers with overhead-appropriate luggage to check their bags at the gate and closing her boarding gates a few minutes earlier than scheduled just in case someone with a delayed connecting flight was almost going to be able to catch the flight,

  2. FlyingNone

    April 28, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Hmmm,……many other news sources don’t come close to this dialogue. Apparently the agent actually referred to something like “stop the monkeyshines” to the passenger,…….a term used to refer to causing mischief or shenanigans — and that after some disagreement by the passenger to the agent. This report seems to be one-sided (the passenger) and without any details about what preceded or caused this so-called name calling. I don’t believe it actually went down that way. Nobody asks a question and then just gets shouted at and name-called in such a way. Details are needed here. I hope United truly investigates before/ if ?? they terminate this employee.

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