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American Airlines Backtracks After Blaming 9-Year-Old Girl Filmed in Airplane Bathroom

by | May 23, 2024

Dallas, TX – May 23, 2024 – American Airlines is in damage control mode after a legal filing aimed at a young victim in a horrifying case involving a former flight attendant backfired spectacularly.

Estes Carter Thompson III, 37, was arrested in January for allegedly using his phone to secretly film young girls using airplane restrooms on multiple flights. The family of a 9-year-old victim filed a lawsuit against American Airlines, claiming the company failed to adequately vet its employees and ensure passenger safety.

Estes Carter Thompson III, 37, was arrested in January for allegedly using his phone to secretly film young girls | AP

However, in a move that has left many questioning the airline’s priorities, American Airlines’ legal team included a clause in their response that placed blame on the young girl. The filing stated she “knew or should have known” about the presence of a hidden camera, a claim so outlandish it sparked immediate public outrage.

Social media platforms became a megaphone for criticism, with accusations of victim-blaming and prioritizing profits over passenger safety dominating the conversation. “This is beyond irresponsible,” said Sarah Jones, a prominent passenger advocate. “A child using a restroom has a right to expect privacy, not to be subjected to the fear of being secretly filmed by a predator. To suggest they are somehow responsible for a flight attendant’s criminal act is disgusting.”

Facing a public relations nightmare, American Airlines issued a formal apology. The company distanced itself from the legal filing, calling it an “error” and stating it in no way reflects the airline’s values. They further pledged their full cooperation with the ongoing investigation.

Alertness of a Young Passenger:

While details about the extent of Thompson’s crimes are still emerging, the culprit’s luck ran out thanks to the alertness of a young passenger. According to reports, a 14-year-old girl noticed something suspicious about the airplane lavatory on a September flight. After Thompson allegedly directed her to a specific bathroom and mentioned the toilet being broken, the girl became uneasy. Upon entering the restroom, she spotted a cellphone hidden beneath maintenance stickers on the underside of the toilet seat lid. Quick thinking saved the day – the girl snapped a picture of the phone with her own device before leaving the bathroom.

The photo that the 14 year old snapped of the taped phone on the back of the toilet seat lid.

This incident served as a crucial piece of evidence. The girl informed her parents, who subsequently alerted the flight crew. Authorities were then notified upon landing, and a search of Thompson’s belongings, along with his iCloud account, revealed multiple incriminating videos. The FBI investigation found evidence suggesting Thompson may have targeted as many as four girls between the ages of 7 and 14.

This incident raises serious questions about security protocols employed by American Airlines. Lawsuits from the families involved are expected, and the airline could face significant financial repercussions in addition to the severe reputational damage.

Thompson, meanwhile, remains in custody and faces federal charges, including attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.

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