Southwest Airlines Employee Accused ‘Biracial’ Family Of Human Trafficking
“The whole thing is based on what I believe to be a racist assumption about a mixed-race family,” she said in an interview with The Independent. Southeast airline employee accused Biracial Family of human trafficking.
A California woman is speaking out after a viral video showed her and her daughter being confronted by a Southwest Airlines worker and a police officer following a flight departing from the Bay Area.
Mary MacCarthy, a Los Angeles woman, and her Black, biracial 10-year-old daughter Moira, were de-boarding a Southwest flight from San Jose that landed in Denver on Oct. 22 when they were stopped by a Southwest worker and a police officer, according to footage provided to SFGATE and to multiple media outlets. “The flight attendants were just concerned about the behavior when you boarded the aircraft,” the unidentified employee told MacCarthy in the footage. “We’re not suspecting anything, so it’s just our policy to follow up.”
MacCarthy jumped in to explain the situation.
The family had booked a last-minute flight to Denver from Los Angeles — with a transfer in San Jose — to attend a funeral for MacCarthy’s brother, who she said was “like a father to her” daughter. “It’s okay, sweetheart,” MacCarthy said, comforting her daughter as she’s crying. A police officer also reassures Moira that she’s not in any trouble.
Among the concerns Southwest attendants on the flight allegedly had were that she had requested to be seated next to her daughter — the airline does not offer assigned seating — and that the two were quiet during their flight, both potential warning indicators for human trafficking. MacCarthy denied the claim that they were quiet, telling SFGATE that she slept on the plane while her daughter listened to an audiobook. The airline worker in Denver apologized following the exchange, but MacCarthy told them that Moira has “already, unfortunately, been traumatized by the police in her life.”
Days later, after the funeral, MacCarthy told media outlets that she received a call from Denver police’s human trafficking unit, with further allegations. According to a police report provided to SFGATE, the Southwest attendant alleged that “the mother did not allow the child to talk to flight crew.” MacCarthy denied that allegation to SFGATE, saying she was “absolutely astonished to read that in the report.” MacCarthy said that she believes that the interaction was an incident of racial profiling, in which she was stopped because she was a white woman with a Black, biracial child.
“The whole thing is based on what I believe to be a racist assumption about a mixed-race family,” she said in an interview with The Independent.
MacCarthy told SFGATE that as the single mother of a biracial child, she knows that she has to be prepared with official documentation.
What I do is I travel with her birth certificate, because I do raise her on my own,” she said. “I have sole custody, and I’m prepared for any questions. Going through TSA, that might be sort of verifying that … we are indeed family, and I’m open to, for example, TSA questioning me even on our racial differences, because that’s the reality and that’s fine and they’re doing their jobs.”
But in her many years of traveling, including as an international news correspondent, MacCarthy never had a confrontation like this, even as the pair has traveled to six different countries together, she said.
“There’s a big difference between … TSA checking to make sure that we’re traveling under the proper circumstances as we go through security like they do with anyone and being accosted by armed police and being told that we’ve been acting suspiciously,” MacCarthy said. “That’s not the same thing at all.”