United Airlines Employee Charged After Calling Black Actress 'Monkey' and 'Shining Monkey'

April 23, 2019 - 11:51 am

(KNX 1070) -- United Airlines is in legal hot water after one of its employees was charged with disorderly conduct as a result of using racial slurs to actress and philanthropist Cacilie Hughes. 


The New York Times reports that Carmella Davano called the actress a "monkey" and a "shining monkey" during an incident at Houston's George Bush International Airport in February. 

According to the Times, it all began with a refund code and escalated from there. 

“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...I was humiliated, I was crying and I was the only black woman in the area," Hughes told the Times. 

The misdemeanor charge against the United employee was filed in Houston in March after Davano received a citation for profane and abusive language in a public place. 

As the situation grew more intense, Hughes asked a different United employee to call the police, when that person declined, she called the Houston police herself. When the police arrived Hughes' story was verified by two witnesses. 

Hughes provided the below statement to the Root

“I’m still in shock. I can’t believe this happened. I was traveling home from a speaking engagement in Michigan where I made it my mission to empower other women. I finally landed at home in Texas and a United Airlines employee named Carmella publicly humiliated me and called me degrading racial slurs for no reason. Tears streamed down my face as she humiliated me calling me a ‘monkey,’ said I have a ‘monkey face,’ and called me a ‘shining monkey.’ I had never heard the term ‘shining monkey’ before in my life. When I looked it up, I read that it is an old-fashioned version of the ‘n-word.’ I was afraid and I asked United Airline employees to call the police, but they refused. I am thankful that other passengers stood up for me. Without them I would have been completely alone.”

United Airlines provided the below statement to the Root.

"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.

"Unfortunately, the racism experienced by Cacilie was not an isolated incident with United Airlines, but part of a companywide pattern of racial discrimination,” attorneys Crump and Rand wrote in a joint statement. “We are going to fight to enforce Cacilie Hughes’ civil rights, to ensure that United Airlines eliminates its practice of racial discrimination, and to ensure the ongoing criminal prosecution of United Airline’s racist employee Carmella.”