Air France whistleblowers reveal “epidemic” of sexual harassment and assault on the airline

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A group of Air France whistleblowers claimed that there was a culture of sexual violence among the French standard-bearer that is so widespread that many workers will not “blink” if they witness sexual harassment and of aggression. And while Air France says it takes “the prevention of sexist behavior and harassment very seriously”, insiders say the reality is very different for many workers.

“Recently, a flight attendant told me” Don’t you want to give the captain a blowjob so that it goes faster? “Revealed an Air France cabin crew member who spoke on condition of anonymity with the French-language newspaper Mediapart.

Photo credit: Air France

“The captain let me pass in front of me, telling me in a low voice” I’m doing this to be able to monitor the buttocks of the hostesses “, another young flight attendant who worked at Air France on an interim student contract revealed. “When I got our bags back, he handed mine to me, telling me that it was very light and that my pants must be” very small “,” she continued.

In total, personal testimonies were collected from 12 Air France personnel, all of whom detailed similar allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. What most of these stories had in common was the indifference that colleagues had shown in these incidents.

A check-in agent detailed an incident in which a passenger forcibly attempted to kiss him. “My colleagues really didn’t care,” said the woman. “Because it is so widespread, sexual harassment becomes almost trivial. You could say it is part of the package. “

“The chief stewards and chief stewards in charge of the crew do not react when they witness scenes of sexual harassment,” said another stewardess about her experience with the airline company. Many of those who shared their experiences said that others did not complain because they hoped one day to get a permanent contract – something they feared would happen if they told their story.

A temporary flight attendant who spoke described the “fragile” situation they were in. “During the training, they constantly reminded us that it was a” privilege “to work for them, and implicitly, that we were replaceable.”

An Air France source told Mediapart that the majority of the reported cases were already known and had been the subject of an in-depth investigation. Disciplinary measures, including dismissal in some cases, were the result of the investigations.

Air France may finally have reached an agreement with its cabin crew
Photo credit: Air France

Air France says it has a long-standing commitment to equality and wants to end sexism, but admits that gender stereotypes persist within the airline. A spokesperson said that he launched his #OsonsLeDire campaign in 2017, encouraging employees to report sexual harassment and share the sexist comments they “heard daily.”

“Air France is continuing its actions and is taking new actions to put an end to everyday sexism at work,” explains the airline.

A survey of flight attendants based in the United States found that more than two-thirds had experienced some form of sexual harassment during their pilot careers. More than one in three flight attendants reported experiencing verbal sexual harassment from passengers, while almost one fifth had experienced physical sexual harassment from passengers in the past year alone.

“The moment when flight attendants were objectified in airline marketing and people were joking about” coffee, tea or me “must be firmly anchored,” commented Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attents who ordered the investigation.

“The harassment of flight attendants is legendary, but this investigation shows how common it remains even during the #MeToo era,” she said. “It is time for all of us – airlines, unions, regulators, legislators and passengers – to end behavior that can no longer be tolerated. “

“The dignity and well-being of flight attendants and the safety of all travelers depend on it.”



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