Alaska Airlines has banned a man for life from its flights after he allegedly groped a flight attendant.
Mike Timon, 53, was accused of touching the attendant’s buttocks while in first class during an evening flight from Portland to San Diego the day after Christmas.
Timon, though, said he only touched the woman on her back in order to get her attention to order a drink.
Timon was escorted off the plane by police when it landed.
“For me to be accused of this, and for me to be escorted off the plane by police? This is it. I’m blowing up. … It’s unnecessary. It’s discrimination toward me,” Timon told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Ann Johnson said there’s an open investigation into the situation but for now Timon is banned.
“Alaska Airlines will not tolerate any type of sexual misconduct that creates an unsafe environment for our guests and crew members and we are fully committed to do our part to address this serious issue,” she said.
An irate Timon insisted he did nothing wrong.
“What about us guys?” Timon said. “I can’t tap a flight attendant on her back to politely ask for something, yet I get accused of something? It’s out of control and I am pissed.”
According to his LinkedIn page, Timon is president of his own business, Med Exchange International. He graduated from San Diego State University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management.
The tense situation comes amid rising numbers of sexual assault allegations levied against high-profile males across industries, resulting in a string of firings.
The increased attention on sexual harassment allegations prompted Sara Nelsen, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants–CWA, which represents 42,000 of them, to write in an opinion piece that flight attendants remain “ongoing victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault.”
“We are called pet names, patted on the rear when a passenger wants our attention, cornered in the back galley and asked about our ‘hottest’ layover, and subjected to incidents not fit for print,” Nelsen wrote in The Washington Post.
She concluded, “Flight attendants need to know the airlines will take this as seriously as any other safety duty we perform.”