Things That Matter

Major Hotel Chains Are Rolling Out Panic Buttons To Protect Their Employees From Sexual Assault

Workers rights have been evolving and changing sine the Industrial Revolution. Things like the five-day work week, eight-hour days and safe working conditions were all rights that had to be forced on employers through legislation, unions and activism. These things give workers a safe working environment that everyone deserves if they are putting in the time. The latest fight in workers rights is happening in hotels and is thanks in part to the #MeToo movement. Major hotel chains are finally stepping up to protect their housekeepers and other employees by rolling out panic buttons.

Major hotel chains will soon provide panic buttons to their employees in order to prevent them from sexual assaulted and other crimes.

“Protecting our employees and the millions of guests who stay in our hotels each day is of paramount importance to the industry,” Katherine Lugar, president and chief executive of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, said to the media, according to Reuters.

Executives and leaders in the hotel industry had resisted the extra safety step, but increased pressure changed their position.

A report by the Center for American Progress showed the employees in the accommodation and food industry have filed the most harassment charges than any other industry.

“The accommodation and food services industry—including full-service restaurants, fast-food restaurants, coffee shops, recreational facilities, inns, hotels, and other hospitality establishments—accounted for 14.2 percent of the sexual harassment claims filed,” reads a report from the Center for American Progress. “Recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that women represent the majority of workers in the accommodation and food services industry, often in lower-paying jobs such as food servers and preparers.”

The device looks just like a key chain and can be pinned on clothing or hidden in pockets.

According to Reuters, the cost to produce and distribute the device will cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” but it seems like gadget will be very much worth it.

Hotels like Marriott International Inc and Hilton will begin to roll out the device to their employees in the next couple of years.

“In those moments you don’t feel safe; you don’t see that person any more as a guest,” Dallamy Santos told Reuters. “You don’t want to have to worry about where you’re going to get the help.”


READ: 13 People Have Accused Peruvian Photographer Mario Testino of Sexual Assault

Do you think this panic button will help prevent sexual assaults in hotels? Let us know by sharing this story and commenting in the section below!

A Woman Is Suing American Airlines After An Employee Took Her Number From Her Luggage And Started To Text Her

Things That Matter

A Woman Is Suing American Airlines After An Employee Took Her Number From Her Luggage And Started To Text Her

@MattMargaras / Twitter

Airports can be strange places. But typically, when you’re in the airport of an unknown city, there’s a sense of freedom and solitude—after all, depending on where you are, the chance that you’ll cross paths with someone you know is pretty slim. But what’s the likelihood of running into someone you don’t know . . . but who somehow knows who you are? For Ashley Barno, this unlikely situation became a reality in June 2019, when an employee of American Airlines took her number from the tag on her luggage, then proceeded to text her incessantly throughout her flight.

The stranger sent a text that read, “Hey, Ashley! How are you??” before immediately following up with a “Btw I must tell you that you are gorgeous!” Barno thanked him for the compliment, asking him who he was and how he got her number. Also, why was he texting her?

He told her to “guess,” then added that he worked for American Airlines, the airline operating her flight from San Diego to Chicago. After telling her that he “just saw her again at the airport” and she was “looking very gorgeous in grey top [sic],” Barno started to feel nervous. She was wearing a gray shirt that day, and she did not like that this stranger was watching her—she said that the messages made her feel “naked in a public place.” She glanced around the gate area but had no idea who or where this person was.

Barno says that the messages continued even after she boarded her flight, when the man revealed that he was also on the plane.

Credit: Joe Samo

“You want to sit next to me?” said another text, promising that he could get her a better seat. “I have two seats open next to me!” he claimed. “Will you join me??”

Twice, he asked her for her seat number and told her that he wanted to “chat the whole flight.” He claimed that Barno herself had given him her number, and when she insisted otherwise, he eventually admitted, “Honestly I got it from ur bagtag.” Barno knew that the tag on her luggage also mentioned her full name and mailing address, which made the situation even more tense.

“Not ok!” she responded. “Not cool.” Then she told him to leave her alone.

What followed was a deluge of 10 more text messages, including one that read, “Friendship with me will be very beneficial for you!!”

He proceeded to promise her “good seats, access to the lounges and free flights too!! You can think about it!” he wrote, later adding, “Just looking for one chance to prove my self [sic]!! I will be very respectful to you always.” (As if sending a barrage of unwanted, creepy messages is respectful behavior.)

After this deeply disturbing experience, Barno hired attorney Joseph Samo and filed a lawsuit against the airline and former employee (who, at the time of the incident, was still employed by American Airlines) over allegations of negligent hiring, sexual harassment and stalking.

Samo said that during the flight, Barno was emotionally distraught, and she notified a flight attendant about what was going on, mentioning that she was receiving unsettling messages from a man in row 15. According to Samo, the flight attendant responded kindly, ensuring that Barno was in a completely different area of the plane and checking in with Barno regularly. When the airplane landed, security guards escorted the man off the plane—the flight attendant told Barno that “this wasn’t the first time he’d done something like this.”

While American Airlines did not answer specific questions about Barno’s allegations or the case, company spokesman Joshua Freed confirmed that the man was employed by American Airlines at the time, though he wasn’t on duty during the alleged harassment. He wrote in a statement that “the employee involved in the complaint is no longer employed at American Airlines,” and that “American Airlines takes the privacy and safety of our customers seriously.” He added, “We investigated the allegations and took appropriate action.”

But Barno’s complaint contests this claim. Although Freed declined to comment on past allegations against the former employee due to the impending litigation, the lawsuit claims that American Airlines “knew of its employee’s propensity to inappropriately contact its customers yet continued to retain him as an employee.”

The complaint, filed last week in a San Diego division of California Superior Court, also states that “American Airlines did not do a sufficient job in hiring and supervising employees to keep its customers safe from sexual harassment and stalking.”

Barno affirmed that she felt frustrated and neglected by the airline when they failed to respond to her concerns about customer privacy after the incident. In an interview with NBC 7 in San Diego, Barno described her fear when she realized they were on the same flight: “Just knowing that he knew what I looked like, and that we were on an enclosed plane and that there’s no way out, like really, really scared me.”

Samo validated Barno’s feas, reiterating the need for action on the part of the airline. “We’re doing this to send a message to big corporations that this behavior is not acceptable,” Samo said. “They have to train their employees better and take better precautions to make sure these things don’t happen again.”

Lady Gaga Gave A Very Candid Interview To Oprah In Which She Shares Her Trauma Of Being Raped ‘Repeatedly’ At 19

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Lady Gaga Gave A Very Candid Interview To Oprah In Which She Shares Her Trauma Of Being Raped ‘Repeatedly’ At 19

Oprah Vision Tour / Billboard

Oscar-winner Lady Gaga sat down for an interview with Oprah as part of the talk show host’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus tour. Gaga was not afraid to get real. Although she did not give a detailed summary of the events, the “Shallow” singer discussed being raped repeatedly at 19 years old. She described suffering from PTSD, a psychotic break down, and self-harm. 

However, the Grammy-award winning singer did so with an important message: get help. Throughout the conversation, Gaga was very transparent about how necessary it is to seek treatment and be unafraid of receiving it. This isn’t the first time she has opened up about past traumas, Gaga admitted to being sexually assaulted upon the release of her song “Til It Happens To You” which is an anthem for assault survivors inspired by the documentary The Hunting Ground. She’s been forthcoming about her struggles with past addiction issues, eating disorders, and fibromyalgia. 

Consider this your Trigger Warning, because Gaga gets real here. 

Gaga opened up about being raped at 19 years old.

“I was raped when I was 19 years-old, repeatedly. I have been traumatized in a variety of ways by my career over the years from many different things, but I survived, and I’ve kept going. And when I looked at that Oscar, I saw pain. I don’t know that anyone understood it when I said it in the room, but I understood it,” Gaga told Oprah. 

While she doesn’t go into the specifics, she revealed before that after being raped for months she was dropped off on a street corner. The 33-year-old said she began to suffer from PTSD after the horrific incident. The pain of her rape still appears to haunt her body until this day. 

“The trauma response is much heavier and actually feels the way I felt after I was dropped on a street corner after I’d been raped repeatedly for months. It’s a recurring feeling,” she said. 

The singer recounted having a psychotic break during a difficult period in her life to Elle last year.

“So I had a psychotic break at one point, and it was one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me. I was brought to the ER to urgent care and they brought in the doctor, a psychiatrist. So I’m just screaming, and I said, ‘Could somebody bring me a real doctor?’ And I didn’t understand what was going on, because my whole body went numb; I fully dissociated,” Gaga told Elle in November. 

The physical and psychic trauma she endured caused her brain to disassociate. The pop star needed serious help and hospitalization. 

“My whole body started tingling and I started screaming. I was in a hospital. It’s very difficult to describe what it feels like other than that you first start to tingle from head to toe and then you go numb. The brain goes, ‘That’s enough, I don’t want to think about this anymore. I don’t want to feel this anymore.’ Boom. You break from reality as you know it.” Gaga said, “I know this is controversial in a lot of ways, but medicine really helped me.”

Gaga also shared that she used to self-harm.

“I was a cutter for a long time, and the only way that I was able to stop cutting and self-harming myself was to realize that what I was doing was trying to show people that I was in pain instead of telling them and asking for help,” Gaga told Elle.  

Much of Gaga’s interview is about how her traumas could only be managed by seeking support and professional help. Most importantly, she doesn’t want to glamourize mental illness, she simply wants to help others who are struggling with it. She even suggested that those suffering from self-harm or traumatic pain can put their hands in a bowl of ice water to shock the system and bring them back to reality. 

“I have PTSD. I have chronic pain. Neuropathic pain trauma response is a weekly part of my life. I’m on medication; I have several doctors. This is how I survive. But you know what, Oprah? I kept going, and that kid out there or even that adult out there who’s been through so much, I want them to know that they can keep going, and they can survive, and they can win their Oscar. I would also beckon to anyone to try, when they feel ready, to ask for help,” she told Oprah.

Gaga’s final message to those listening was to accept life’s challenges and be kind in times of extreme cruelty. 

“Accept the challenge of kindness. It’s hard in a world the way that we are; we have a very, very grave history. We’re in trouble, and we have been before. But I think life asks us amid these challenges, this hatred, this tragedy, this famine, this war, this cruelty: Can you be kind and can you survive?”