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United Airlines employee charged with racism towards a customer, calling her ‘a monkey’

United Airlines employee charged with racism towards a customer, calling her ‘a monkey’
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A United Airlines employee accused of directing racial slurs at a customer has been charged in Texas with disorderly conduct, according to court documents.

The charge, a misdemeanor, was filed in Municipal Court for Houston in March, a month after the Houston Police Department issued the employee, Carmella Davano, a citation for profane and abusive language in a public place. She was accused of repeatedly calling Cacilie Hughes, a black woman and United customer, “a monkey” and “a shining monkey.”

Hughes, an actress and co-founder of the Big Sister Little Sister Mentoring Program, a nonprofit group, had returned home to Houston on Feb. 26 from a speaking engagement in Michigan when she encountered Davano in the United terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

“I walked up to the woman, Carmella, and said, ‘Hi, do you have a refund code available?’ and she started yelling at me, calling me a monkey,” Hughes said in a phone interview Monday. “I was humiliated, I was crying and I was the only black woman in the area.”

Hughes, 31, said that she asked another United employee to call the police and that the employee refused to help, so she called the police herself.

A representative of the Houston Police Department said officers went to the scene, where two witnesses said they saw and heard Davano direct the slurs at Hughes.

United said in a statement: “We have withheld the employee from service since the night of the incident pending an internal investigation. Upon conclusion of the investigation, we will take any and all appropriate corrective action up to and including termination.”
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