By Dana Branham and Paul O’Donnell
The Dallas Morning News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said the skit was part of a fundraising event, and in a message to American staff members Sunday evening, the airline said the video was filmed at a “customer-organized concert held at a private residence.”
The Dallas Morning News
A union that represents American Airlines flight attendants is demanding that the carrier investigate a video of a skit that it says demeans women.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said the skit, which was posted Saturday night on Twitter, included women dressed as flight attendants singing “Big Spender” to a man who was portraying an Executive Platinum customer.
Set to the beat of a striptease number, the song from the musical Sweet Charity includes suggestive lyrics.
The union asked Doug Parker, chief executive of the Fort Worth-based airline, to look into the video, which promotes “sex appeal as an attraction to AA’s most prominent and lucrative passengers.”
Forbes reported that the women in the skit are Dallas-based flight attendants.
The union said the skit was part of a fundraising event, and in a message to American staff members Sunday evening, the airline said the video was filmed at a “customer-organized concert held at a private residence.”
“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,” American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said in a written statement.
Jamie Larounis, who writes about airline loyalty programs for his blog The Forward Cabin, said he filmed the video at a residence in the “Greater Dallas” area Saturday evening, then tweeted it.
Larounis said several acts performed and dinner was served during the event, which required attendees to purchase tickets. He said he had no part in organizing the event.
“This was just a group of friends who happen to share a love of aviation and routinely fly American Airlines, having a good time, nothing more,” Larounis said in an email.
American corporate communications staff contacted him the next morning, and after consulting with the airline, he decided it was best to take down the tweet “to protect the parties depicted in the video,” Larounis said.
The airline said in its message to staff members that it also reached out to the group of customers that hosted the event to “express our displeasure” with the skit. The group hosts various meetings and events each year, the airline said.
“To be clear, we are as upset as many of you are with the video,” American said in its statement. “We have been in touch with APFA and several flight attendants since early this morning and we all share the same concerns.”
The union’s national president, Lori Bassani, demanded more information about the company’s possible involvement with the skit.
“This cannot be happening in today’s environment,” she said in a written statement. “We will not tolerate our profession being objectified in a sexist manner.”
Among the questions the union said it wanted answered are whether the airline sanctioned the event or had advance knowledge of the skit.
The message to staff members said the carrier had no say about the content of the event and did not preview any of the agenda, including the skit.
“Additionally, we were particularly upset to see our logo on the screen as the skit was performed,” the airline said in its statement to its staff.