A San Diego man is livid after being accused of touching a female flight attendant’s buttocks while on an Alaska Airlines flight.
“For me to be accused of this, and for me to be escorted off the plane by police? This is it. I’m blowing up. ... It’s unnecessary. It’s discrimination toward me,” Mike Timon said after the Dec. 26 incident.
Timon, 53, said the allegation against him and the resulting repercussion — he was banned from flying with the airline — evidence “reverse discrimination against men,” according to The San Diego Union-Tribune, which first reported the story.
Timon says he “politely” patted the woman on the back.
After Timon attempted to order a drink, a male flight attendant told him he’d been cut off from alcohol, that he’d assaulted another attendant and that police would meet him when they landed.
The Harbor Police Department said Timon and witnesses gave statements to officers, but no one filed charges, the Union-Tribune reported.
An Alaska spokeswoman said that the airline will soon announce updates to its policies and training to better address sexual harassment on flights.
“Alaska Airlines will not tolerate any type of sexual misconduct that creates an unsafe environment for our guests and crew members, and we are fully committed to do our part to address this serious issue,” Ann Johnson told the Union-Tribune.
In November, Alaska made headlines after Randi Zuckerberg, the CEO of Zuckerberg Media and Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, said she was harassed by a “frequent flyer” whose status led flight attendants to downplay his behavior.
Zuckerberg later thanked Alaska officials after they opened an investigation into the matter.
Last month, Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, wrote in the Washington Post that flight attendants are “called pet names, patted on the rear when a passenger wants our attention, cornered in the back galley and asked about our ‘hottest’ layover and subjected to incidents not fit for print. Like the rest of our society, flight attendants have never had reason to believe that reports of the sexual harassment we experience on the job would be taken seriously, rather than dismissed or retaliated against.”
However, a blog on the union’s website commended Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden for meaningfully responding to another recent harassment incident.
Timon said he was “100 percent sober” on the Alaska flight, was not unruly and is now mulling a lawsuit after saying he felt embarrassed in front of other passengers.
“What about us guys?” Timon said. “I can’t tap a flight attendant on her back to politely ask for something, yet I get accused of something? It’s out of control and I am pissed.”
Reaction to Timon’s claims of being a victim has been mixed on Twitter.