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A video has surfaced showing a performance at a charity event for American Airlines Executive Platinum members during which a group of off-duty American Airlines employees sing “Big Spender” burlesque-style to a man seated on stage. American Airlines has said that it did not sanction the Dallas-area event Saturday, but confirms that the performers were indeed AA flight attendants.
In a statement emailed to TPG on Sunday, AA spokesperson Ross Feinstein said:
“We saw a customer’s social media post depicting a group of American flight attendants at a customer-organized and hosted event. What was portrayed in the skit was not sanctioned by the airline and is not representative of the 27,000 professional flight attendants who take great care of millions of customers each year. We spoke to the customer who posted the video and shared our concerns that the actions depicted in the skit he witnessed are demeaning to our professional flight attendants and crew members throughout the industry. We appreciate that he listened to our concerns and that he agreed to remove the video.”
American donated a few items to the event to help raise money for a charity.
The airline later sent a note to its employees Sunday night about the incident saying that its flight attendants “do incredible things each and every day to take care of our customers and each other.”
“This was not an American Airlines event. We did not have any say about the content of the event, nor did we preview any of the agenda,” the employee memo said. “Additionally, we were particularly upset to see our logo on the screen as the skit was performed.”
In a statement from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the organization has demanded that American Airlines CEO Doug Parker “conduct an independent investigation of Management’s involvement in the incident.” APFA National President Lori Bassani went on to say that the organization “will not tolerate our profession being objectified in a sexist manner.”
Bassani added in a statement to TPG that, “We have not heard from anyone [at] AA since asking for an independent investigation. Our flight attendants are outraged and want answers.”
The airline and flight attendants were scheduled to resume contract negotiations Monday.
American and AFPA are in the middle of contract negotiations for flight attendants, and AA has come under fire in recent months for the way the airline treats its pilots and flight attendants. The current agreement, which in accordance with federal law does not have an expiration date, will be amendable as of December 2019.
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