US Deaf News: TSA deny “f****** deafie” story

Posted on July 13, 2012

Earlier this week, I reported on a story that was blazing a trail through the web, about a Deaf man who alleged he had been called a “f****** deafie” by aiport security in the US, before having sweets confiscated and eaten in front of him by the guards.

The story was originally picked up by Boing Boing, after being posted on the Deaf man’s Tumblr account, where he posted as TeaAndTheatre.

In his post, he wrote: “While I was going through the TSA, some of them started laughing in my direction.” After the guards allegedly took his sweets and ate them, laughing in front of him, he wrote that one of them came up to him, pointed at his shirt, and called him a “f***** deafie.”

However, just as our post was published, the Tumblr account for TeaAndTheatre suddenly disappeared. We wrote:

Mysteriously, at the time of writing, the original blog post, as well as the TeaAndTheatre tumblr account, can no longer be accessed: but that hasn’t stopped the story being picked up by a range of websites.

Well today, the plot thickens.  The TSA have published a denial of the allegations on their own blog, which has led to a deaf blog called The Orange County Deafie Blogwire accusing TeaAndTheatre of making the story up.

The TSA Blog says:

Immediately following a complaint by the passenger, TSA launched an investigation into the alleged incident, which included a review of more than 120 hours of CCTV footage from a three-day period to look for any scenes that matched the information in the blog post.  A close examination of the video during this timeframe indicates that officers working the checkpoint were professional and appropriate with all passengers.

Here are the facts:

TSA has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.

When TSA found out the NAD conference was coming to Louisville, TSA reached out to NAD and other members of its disability coalition while Transportation Security Officers at SDF received additional training on screening deaf passengers from local experts in the field.

SDF is a smaller airport with only one checkpoint, which is monitored by security cameras. Our officers are aware that screening operations are constantly under video surveillance.

After a review of the video, TSA found no footage that matches the information in the blog post, such as Officers removing food during any bag search and eating it, or anything to indicate that they were pointing at and ridiculing a passenger.

In general, candy is not a prohibited item, and would only warrant additional screening if it alarmed. TSA does not donate surrendered food and drink items for health and safety reasons.

Comments (many sceptical of the TSA response) are now stacking up on the TSA Blog post, which you can read here:

We’ll keep you posted if there are any further developments.

By Charlie Swinbourne, Editor

The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. 

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