DALLAS — A Spirit Airlines agent, employed through a local partner company according to the airline, has been suspended after a video surfaced online that shows him fighting with a woman who called him racial and homophobic slurs in the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).
Video of the fight was posted on Twitter by DTX Daily with the date "7/11/22," but the statement from Spirit confirmed that the incident occurred on Aug. 11 and not on July 11.
Thomas Shannon shot the original video and posted it to his Instagram page. He is a professional cinematographer and filmmaker. He said he's frequently in airports and traveling around the world.
"I'm at the Panda Express," Shannon said, describing where he was before the incident happened. "We hear yelling. I just drop my food on the counter, run over as fast as I can to see what was going on. My first instinct was to just grab my camera and see."
The video has gone viral online, garnering more than 5 million views in only 24 hours.
In the video, you can see a man in a maroon shirt – the airline employee – yelling at a woman, saying "you have lost your mind...don't you touch me ever in your life."
"You touched me first, and then you got in my face," the man added. "Don't ever invade my personal space."
The woman then yells "get out of my face" back at the man while pushing him multiple times. Throughout the video, the woman says racial and homophobic slurs at the man. Another man intervenes, then the woman hits the airline employee. In response to being hit, the man then runs after the woman and eventually hits her back.
"I think we need to have the dialogue of physical violence and safety at the airport," Shannon said. "And why airports are so dangerous."
The video also shows multiple people trying to subdue the man and break up the fight.
At the end of the video, another man confronts the Spirit Airlines agent for "fighting a woman," where the two square off chest-to-chest with their hands behind their backs.
You can watch the video here (warning: the video contains language some may find offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.):
Shannon said he's seen a wide range of discussion on the comments since he posted the video.
"What happens when the woman strikes first and is throwing abuses and assaults?" Shannon said. "And what happens when the man snaps? What do you do? I would just encourage everybody to really have an honest conversation about this video. And ask themselves what they would do and what they should do."
Spirit Airlines and the DFW airport told WFAA in a statement Friday morning they were aware of the altercation between the agent and the passenger. They added the "vendor at DFW has suspended the agent."
"Spirit Airlines does not tolerate violence of any kind, and we are working with local law enforcement to investigate this matter," the statement continued.
The police report
According to a police report obtained by WFAA, an officer with DFW Airport DPS said the incident began when the woman exited the Spirit jet bridge and said there was no seat for her on the plane.
The officer spoke with the agent who said the woman was yelling at him and cut in front of a customer to speak to a gate agent. When the agent asked her to move to the back of the line, the woman refused, the agent told police.
The agent then said he told the woman she would not be boarding the flight and she became upset, leading to the viral confrontation.
When the officer spoke with the woman, she claimed the agent shoved her to the ground for no reason and said he pushed her.
The police report said the video captured of the incident was similar to the agent's account of the incident.
The police report said that the woman acted as the aggressor in the incident and the report concluded that she "committed the offense of Assault, Bodily Injury."
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