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Airplane 'Creep' Stymied by Female Passengers

Canadian reporter, other women intervened after they say they witnessed man harassing teen girl
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2019 8:04 AM CDT
Updated Mar 30, 2019 4:54 PM CDT
Female passengers looked out for a teen girl being harassed on a plane.   (Getty Images/Farknot_Architect)

(Newser) – A Canadian reporter noticed a disturbing incident involving a teen girl on a recent plane ride—and her intervention, along with that of other female passengers, helped the young lady out of an uncomfortable situation. Per the CBC, Joanna Chiu, the Star's Vancouver bureau chief, was on a flight from Toronto to Vancouver when a man behind her started grumbling about his middle seat. He suddenly stopped complaining, however, when a teen girl sat next to him, and Chiu, her radar in overdrive, started carefully listening to their conversation. Chiu, who also wrote about her experiences with "airplane creeps" for the Toronto Star and on Twitter, says the man started off asking fairly innocuous questions, but then said, "I'm going to give you my number, I want you to call me, and I want to take you out to eat." Chiu says the girl was trying to be polite, but then the man crossed a line that made Chiu act.

She says he asked the girl for a "dirty" photo. Chiu confronted him and alerted flight crew, then found out another woman had also witnessed the entire thing and was ready to intervene; others also spoke up. The belligerent man at first refused to move, at flight attendants' request, until one told him they could land the plane if he didn't comply. Chiu says he was pulled aside by a security official when they landed. Chiu noticed something important during the incident: "None of the male passengers seemed to show they noticed what was going on." She mused that "maybe fellow women are more likely to pick up on warning signs early on in the conversation because we used to be teenage girls too?" She says since her Twitter thread has gone viral that many men have noted "they weren't aware that airplane harassment was so common, and they promised to be vigilant, too." (Read more airline passengers stories.)

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