Police in the United Kingdom say they won’t be prosecuting a group of men accused of shouting homophobic abuse at a lesbian woman on a plane.
Essex Police cited “evidentiary difficulties” over the incident, which occurred last June on a flight from Stansted, England, to Seville, Spain.
Laura Muldoon, social media manager for the Museum of London, tweeted a photo of a group of men, accusing them of shouting anti-gay slurs at her.
“First holiday snap!” she wrote. “Of this bunch of lads who chanted that I was a ‘miserable bitch’, ‘dyke’ and ‘lesbo’ (very well observed!) on [Ryanair].”
Muldoon said that the flight crew on Ryanair, a budget airline based in Ireland, “did nothing.”
First holiday snap! Of this bunch of lads who chanted that I was a “miserable bitch”, “dyke” and “lesbo” (very well observed!) on @Ryanair flight 12.27 from Stansted to Seville today. Oh yeah, flight crew did nothing. #holidayvibes #outofofficeon #rainontheplane pic.twitter.com/3ZW3zWm1A0
— Laura Muldoon (@Laurajmuldoon) June 19, 2019
In a later tweet, Muldoon accused the men of being “loud” and “annoying” from take-off.
“The noise kept rising and eventually I asked a flight attendant to tell them to be quiet and that they were swearing a lot,” she wrote. “I think at this point, the men realized it was me that made the complaint and started referring to me using my seat number while shhh-ing very loudly as a collective.”
Muldoon asked them to stop after they started “blowing up condoms on their heads and getting [their] arses out,” to which the men responded by trying to send her a bottle of wine via a flight attendant, which she “politely declined.”
Later in the flight, the group allegedly started calling her a “dyke,” and referencing her by her seat number, shouting “C28 never stops moaning, she’s a miserable bitch,” calling her a “dyke,” and chanting “lesbos, lesbos, lesbos.”
Muldoon said the flight attendants, who were sitting behind the men, told passengers that they’d spoken to the men but seemed “at their wits’ end.”
“I [have] friends who I know would, and do, feel more vulnerable in situations like this,” Muldoon said, “and who I wanted to speak out on behalf of from my relatively privileged position of being what some might say [is] more ‘straight looking’. It felt like their behavior was totally out of control.”
Muldoon submitted a complaint to Ryanair, to which the airline responded by touting its “high standards of service and professionalism” which it said “[ensures] our staff are constantly reminded of their most important function: to be friendly and professional at all times.”
Ryanair added: “I do sincerely regret that this was not reflected to you on this occasion.”
Muldoon tweeted that the “generic response shows they don’t care about women, LGBTQ+ people or in fact anyone.”
However, while the incident was subsequently reported to Essex Police, BBC News reports that the men alleged to be involved will ultimately not face prosecution.
Muldoon and another woman made an official police complaint, but Essex Police said that “evidential difficulties” had prevented the “realistic prospect of a successful prosecution.”
A spokeswoman for Essex police said the force had conducted “extensive inquiries,” including interviewing a man voluntarily, and asked anyone with more information on the incident to come forward.
Homophobic attacks in the United Kingdom have been increasing in recent months, with the story of a lesbian couple attacked on a London bus last year making headlines worldwide.
Five teenagers were arrested over the attack, after brutally beating two women who refused to kiss for them on a London night bus.
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