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United Airlines Employee Allegedly Called Black Woman ‘A Shining Monkey’

By Parker Diakite

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A United Airlines employee has been charged with a misdemeanor in Texas for allegedly using racial slurs toward a customer.

Carmella Davano was originally issued a citation for using profane and abusive language in a public place by the Houston Police Department after she was accused of calling Cacilie Hughes, a black woman, “a monkey” and “a shining monkey.”

Related Post: After Various Disturbing Incidents, NAACP Issues National Travel Advisory For American Airlines

Davano was charged with disorderly conduct, according to the New York Times.

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

Hughes told the New York Times, “I walked up to the woman, Carmella, and said, ‘Hi, do you gave a refund code available?’”


According to Hughes, “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.”

After the incident, Hughes asked another United employee to call the police and when the employee refused, she called the police herself. When officers arrived on the scene, two witnesses said they saw and heard Davano direct the slurs to Hughes.

A statement issued from United Airlines reads: “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.”

This isn’t the first time United Airlines have dealt with issues surrounding race.

Last year, a Nigerian woman sued the airlines after a white passenger said she smelled.  Eric Murdock, a former NBA player also sued the airline for $10 million after he said a white flight attendant prevented him from switching seats on a flight, according to the New York Times.

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