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Southwest Airlines Passes Off Claim That Pilots Hid Camera In Airplane Bathroom As 'Attempt At Humor'

Southwest Airlines Passes Off Claim That Pilots Hid Camera In Airplane Bathroom As 'Attempt At Humor'

Southwest Airlines is defending itself against claims by a flight attendant that two of its pilots hid a secret camera inside the plane's bathroom and live-streamed footage to the cockpit.

Though the flight attendant is now filing a lawsuit against the airline, Southwest claims what she witnessed was an "inappropriate attempt at humor."

Flight Attendant Renee Steinaker told the story in court papers of how she discovered the camera while Captain Terry Graham was in the bathroom.

"When I walked into the cockpit, I noticed that his iPad was located on the window and on it appeared a picture of the pilot. And I looked further and I realized that it was our pilot, the captain in the lavatory, and then I looked even further."

It was then she realized something terrifying.

"I stared at it and realized that the picture was moving. So, it appeared to be a livestreaming video of the captain in the lavatory."

Flight Attendant Claims Pilots Kept Camera in

Graham's co-pilot, Ryan Russell, told Steinaker that secret cameras had been installed in the bathrooms as a security measure.

Ronald Goldman, Steinaker's lawyer, told ABC News:

"It occurred to her that she, having used the lavatory, as had many of the other attendants and passengers, had likely been filmed."

Steinaker's lawyer elaborated in court documents.

"Renee Steinaker was directed by a supervisor that she was not to talk to anybody about what happened. She was warned that 'if this got out, if this went public, no one, I mean no one, would ever fly our airline again.'"

Southwest commented in a statement to ABC News:

"The false video reference made to the in-flight crew was an inappropriate attempt at humor. When the incident happened two years ago, we swiftly investigated the claim, confirmed that no cameras were placed in any of the lavatories onboard and addressed the reported event with the crew involved."
"Southwest Airlines does not and has never used video surveillance in our lavatories and the Company does not condone the comment made no matter the intent. Again, the event was investigated thoroughly and no corroboration of the allegation was found. We will vigorously defend the lawsuit."

Steinaker clearly doesn't feel like what she witnessed was a joke, however.

"That's not a joke. …If you think that you're being violated—and someone's watching you in a lavatory—no, that's not a joke."

Goldman hopes this lawsuit will ensure nothing like this happens again.

"A purpose of this suit is to make sure that the culture that treats sexual harassment and hostile working environments at 30,000 feet as a joke will, it is hoped, end with the successful conclusion of this lawsuit."

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