An NFL player has anonymously filed a lawsuit against United Airlines over an alleged sexual assault that took place in February. In the lawsuit, which was obtained by Bleacher Report’s Master Tesfatsion, the anonymous player is seeking damages for sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence and negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention by United.
The player used the alias of “John Doe 1” to file the lawsuit. The player was sitting next to another man, “John Doe 2,” who is also a part of the lawsuit. The alleged sexual assault took place on a red-eye flight between Newark and Los Angeles that took place on February 10. In the lawsuit, the unidentified player claims that an “intoxicated” woman grabbed his penis and ripped off a mask that he had been wearing over his mouth and nose. The player had been wearing the mask for protective measures during the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The conversation between the woman and the NFL player, who was in the middle seat, apparently started because she wanted to know why he was wearing a mask over his face. The NFL player says he made multiple complaints to flight attendants on the plane, but that they didn’t do anything until his fourth complaint, at which point they finally decided to move the woman to an empty row.
The NFL player has hired two attorneys — Darren Darwish and Benji Azizian — to handle the case.
“This matter is unfortunately based on several instances of assault — physical, sexual and verbal — on a red-eye United Airlines flight. Instances could have been prevented, if not the harm reduced, had United’s personnel simply taken action sooner,” the attorneys wrote in a statement, via Bleacher Report. “Our goal is to shine light on how assaults can, and are, being made on men, not just women. This is significant, because assault is assault, regardless of gender, race and physical attributes of the victim.”
According to TMZ, the NFL player was given a flight voucher for $150 by United after the flight. Although John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 are both seeking compensatory and punitive damages, the lawsuit doesn’t state how much they’re asking for.