logo
Top
Image Alt

EBONY

  /  News   /  United Airlines Employee Accused of Calling Black Actress a ‘Shining Monkey’

United Airlines Employee Accused of Calling Black Actress a ‘Shining Monkey’

A United Airlines employee has been accused of repeatedly calling actress Cacile Hughes racial slurs in front of other customers, including referring to her as a “shining monkey.”

Hughes, best known for co-starring in 2015 Will Smith film Focus, was waiting for her luggage in the baggage claim area of George Bush Intercontinental airport in Houston when she asked employee Carmella Davano a question that allegedly sent her into a rage.

“I walked up to the woman, Carmella, and said, ‘Hi, do you have a refund code available?’ and she started yelling at me, calling me a monkey,” Ms. Hughes said in a phone interview with The New York Times Monday. “I was humiliated, I was crying and I was the only black woman in the area.”

Hughes then asked another employee to call the police. After that employee refused, she called the cops herself. A rep for the Houston Police Department confirmed that officers were told by two witnesses that they saw and heard Davano call Hughes racial slurs.

Attorneys for Hughes, Benjamin Crump and Jasmine Rand, also claim Davano told the actress to stop looking at her with her “monkey face.” Davano has been criminally charged with disorderly conduct for using a racial slur.

United said in a statement to The New York Post: “At United, we proudly hold ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind. We have withheld the employee from service since the night of the incident pending an internal investigation. Upon conclusion of the investigation, we will take any and all appropriate corrective action up to and including termination.”

Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.