A female air steward has accused a passenger of sexual harassment after he allegedly moaned with pleasure while the cabin crew was forced to wipe his bottom.
The female flight attendant for EVA Air, known only as Kuo, criticised the airline at a press conference on Monday (January 21) for not supporting staff.
Kuo also called on EVA Air to update its rules claiming all cabin crew for the airline must be female.
During a flight from Los Angeles to Taipei on January 19, an unnamed 31-stone man, reportedly boarded the flight in a wheelchair and was given three seats, before asking cabin crew to pull down his trousers and underwear so he could go to the toilet.
The steward said the man then demanded crew wipe his backside, claiming a hand injury prevented him from being able to do so. He is alleged to have requested they do it as second time as he felt the first attempt wasn’t satisfactory.
Kuo told the press conference:
I told him we couldn’t help him, but he started yelling. He told me to go in (to the bathroom) immediately and threatened to relieve himself on the floor.
As the passenger’s genitals were now exposed, one of my colleagues brought a blanket, which I used to cover his modesty. But he very angrily slapped my hand away, saying he didn’t want it and only wanted me to remove his underwear so he could use the toilet.
Flight attendants stayed with the man in the business class bathroom, he was unable to fit into the economy toilet, to ensure he didn’t become trapped in there.
When the man asked the cabin crew to wipe his bottom, Kuo steadied the passenger as her chief attendant put on three pairs of latex gloves to clean it.
As Kuo explains, this is when the passenger started ‘moaning in pleasure’:
He said ‘Oh, mmm, deeper, deeper,’ and then accused my chief attendant of not properly cleaning his backside, requesting that she do it again.
The chief flight attendant had to wipe the passenger’s bottom three times before he said ‘you can pull my pants back up now’.
The Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union, which is representing Kuo, said the incident clearly constituted sexual harassment and asked the airline to sue the passenger.
The man reportedly defecated in his underwear during a 2018 flight with the same airline.
The union argues EVA Air needs to ban nuisance customers who repeatedly create difficulties for staff, begin hiring male staff and establish standard procedures, including making sure physically-challenged passengers are accompanied by a caretaker equipped to assist with their needs.
In a statement, EVA Air said their staff are not obliged to comply with demands from passengers they consider to be inappropriate, even if they are in need of special assistance.
Backing the staff, the airline said they are prepared to offer support if the passenger is sued.
Negotiations are expected to continue in the coming days.
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.