What would you have done if you were in her shoes?
Television host Denise Albert was traveling for work when she was subjected to a “horrific” search by agents for the Transportation Security Administration. Denise, as one of the founders of The Moms, a television lifestyle brand, was trying to make her way to her flight at Los Angeles International Airport when the incident happened.
As a breast cancer patient, Denise carries a tube of medical cream. When the cream was found in her carry-on luggage, the search was initiated.
Consider Denise’s experience, in her own words, and watch the video for yourself, below.
I have never been so humiliated or felt more violated in my life. I went through the scanning machine at the airport without incident. I had already told them about my metal port and my medical cream which I removed from my bag for them to see and test as I have done on prior flights. I don’t know what was different this time but TSA agents aggressively attempted to do a body cavity search in public. (Also I had already removed my wig in public because the search they wanted to do would have messed it up and taken it off). The only way I was allowed to proceed was when a supervisor was kind enough to have more compassion and possibly think the 2 agents went too far and took me into a private room for a regular soft pat down. Today the 2 TSA agents in my video went too far and even threatened to call police. I hope no one ever experiences this.
Monday Dec 5th:
I was in such shock last night that I didn’t include all of the details. Thank you all for your love, your personal stories and your support. I truly hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else!
I have never been so humiliated or felt more violated in my life. I went through the scanning machine at the airport without incident. I had already told them about my metal port and my medical cream which I removed from my bag for them to see and test as I have done on prior flights. I don’t know what was different this time but TSA agents aggressively attempted to do a body cavity search in public. I was TSE precheck and once through the scanner they asked me to take off my shoes. I explained I didn’t have socks on and that my cream is for an infection from my current treatment, including on my feet. So if they wanted to put my shoes through x-ray, I would have to sit down because I would not put my bare feet on the floor. They allowed that. They then started to tell me they would apply pressure from head to toe and I got very upset because I wear a wig. I didn’t want them to touch it, move it, or ruin it. So I ripped it off for them to pat my head without damaging my wig (that I paid for and insurance didn’t cover!) I don’t ever go out in public without it. I have shown pictures on social media as I feel it empowers others but I’m not comfortable in public (I have taken it off at 2 breast cancer related work events for a second to show other cancer survivors and those in it now!) They also put my shoes through and then wouldn’t allow me to put them back on until after the full body search. After at least 20 minutes of sitting there because they were debating how to proceed, I told them my feet were freezing. Also a side effect from chemo. They refused to help me. The woman reached behind me and forceable and aggressively put her hands down my jeans in the back. At some point they offered me a room but wouldn’t let me put my boots on to walk there, which I can’t do barefoot especially because of my open sores and rashes from my treatment on my feet. When I kept asking why they needed to do all of this, they kept saying because I wanted to bring medical cream on the plane. (They NEVER said there was any reason due to my scan so that made no sense!) On the video you see the woman shove her hand up my crotch and then try to go down my shirt. That’s when I said (again) I have a medical port and had a lumpecomy. Many of you have remarked about how calm I was. I have to admit, after the video ends (though I do have it on video), I lifted up my shirt. Rather then have them touch my breasts and port “with pressure” as the TSA agent stated. That’s when they said they were calling law enforcement and I asked them to please do so. Finally, a supervisor arrived. The only way I was allowed to proceed was when the supervisor was kind enough to have more compassion and possibly think the 2 agents went too far and took me into a private room for a regular soft pat down. After that, it still didn’t end. Even though all of my bags when through x-rays without incident as well, they opened my bags, removed everything and another TSA agent joked about all of the eyelashes I had. I told her, it’s because I don’t have real ones from my cancer treatment. I would have thought at that point, the humiliation would have ended. The 2 TSA agents in my video went too far. I hope no one ever experiences this. I should also point out that according to the TSA website, what these agents did was improper procedure – they are not allowed to touch skin and should be gentle over clothing (contradiction to what you hear on video). I should NOT have been required to remove shoes because of my medical condition and they were supposed to ask if I have a tender area and didn’t and didn’t listen when I told them I did. Luckily, Melissa Musen Gerstein and I had a wonderful flight on American Airlines with an incredible crew and 1 very special flight attendant, Latane, who made everything better for the night.
Please watch ABC7NY NOW!
Tuesday Dec 6th 3:55pm
The TSA just called. Kimberly Walton – Assistant Administrator for Civil Rights and Liberty, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement.
Here are some notes from my conversation:
Apologizing for experience
at this point LAX investigation into what happened
very aggressively train on how to screen medical / disabilities
this was not at their expectations
a lot of disappointment we didn’t get it right
they are going to refresh training at LAX 3000 employees
airport conducting investigation
I’m very pleased with this.
Does this video upset you the way it has so many others?
H/T TO: [THE BLAZE]