Ryanair fires six crew members for ‘fake’ photo

The low-cost carrier said the staff were dismissed for staging a fake photograph to support a false claim that they were forced to sleep on the floor of the Malaga crew room. (Social Media)
Updated 07 November 2018
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Ryanair fires six crew members for ‘fake’ photo

  • Six Portugal-based employees decided to lie on the floor at Malaga airport in protest at what they slammed as inadequate accommodation
  • Ryanair is currently engaged in a struggle with European cabin crew members as well as various governments over working conditions

MADRID: Ryanair said Wednesday it had fired six cabin crew who took a photograph of themselves simulating having to sleep on the floor in Spain’s Malaga airport as part of a protest over conditions.
The low-cost carrier said the staff were dismissed for staging “a fake photograph to support a false claim (widely reported in international media outlets) that they were ‘forced to sleep on the floor’ of the Malaga crew room.”
It added this had damaged the airline’s reputation, just as Ryanair is engaged in a struggle with European cabin crew members as well as various governments over working conditions and claims of its disregard for national labor laws.
Unions said that on October 14, as storms raged in southern Spain and Portugal, more than 20 cabin crew had to spend the night at Malaga airport.
They were put in the Ryanair crew room overnight and then moved to a VIP lounge normally used by clients at around six in the morning, both equipped with only chairs or sofas, Spain’s SITCPLA cabin crew union said.
During that time, six Portugal-based employees decided to lie on the floor for the photo in protest at what they slammed as inadequate accommodation.
Ryanair’s chief operations officer Peter Bellew apologized on Twitter, saying that “all hotels were completely booked out in Malaga.”
“Apologies to the crew we could not find accommodation.”
Luciana Passo, head of Portugal’s SNPVAC union, acknowledged it was a protest photo.
“There were 24 cabin crew members in a room with eight chairs,” she said according to local news agency Lusa.
“Some of them decided to show their indignation by lying on the floor as the other chairs were taken, and one person, who wasn’t part of the crew, decided to publish the photo on social media. And they end up fired.”
SITCPLA meanwhile questioned whether it really was impossible to find hotels in a tourist magnet such as Malaga and its surroundings in southern Spain, especially in low season October.
Ryanair has been hit by strikes by cabin crew members for months. This has forced the airline to start recognizing some cabin crew and pilots unions as it looks to avoid further stoppages.


Singer R. Kelly, facing sex abuse charges, gets $1 million bail

This booking photo obtained from the Chicago Police Department on February 23, 2019, shows singer R. Kelly. (AFP)
Updated 24 February 2019
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Singer R. Kelly, facing sex abuse charges, gets $1 million bail

  • Two women who had previously publicly accused him of abuse came to court to observe the proceedings

CHICAGO: A US judge set $1 million bail for R&B superstar R. Kelly on Saturday after prosecutors laid out graphic details of charges that he sexually abused four victims, three of them minors.
Kelly, known for hits like “I Believe I Can Fly,” surrendered to police late Friday after decades of allegations of sexual abuse, especially of underage girls, led to the first sexual assault charges against him.
Kelly was acquitted in a child porn trial more than a decade ago, and had maintained a steady fan base and continued to perform.
But his fortunes changed after a docuseries last month led Chicago prosecutors to publicly seek out any potential victims.
A Chicago grand jury on Friday charged him with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four females, the youngest 14 years old at the time of the alleged crimes, which spanned between 1998 and 2010.
The charges carry three to seven years of prison per count.
A grave-faced Kelly appeared in a packed courtroom in a black hooded sweatshirt with his hands handcuffed behind his back.
Two women who had previously publicly accused him of abuse came to court to observe the proceedings.
In setting bail, Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. ordered Kelly to have no contact with anyone under 18 years old, and to have no contact with any of the alleged victims or witnesses.
The singer also was required to relinquish his passport.
“He’s devastated,” Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg said. “Here is someone who at one point was a huge star. Now he is sitting behind bars.”

In the bail hearing, prosecutors offered new details of their case — including a shocking accusation that Kelly met one underage victim while giving autographs during his 2008 trial.
They described a video showing Kelly repeatedly having sex with a 14-year-old, DNA evidence from another victim’s shirt that they said matched Kelly’s and semen from yet another victim’s clothes that preliminary tests showed appeared to be his.
Prosecutor Kimberly Foxx told reporters that a witness, not publicly identified, had provided the video showing Kelly having oral and vaginal sex with the youngest girl sometime between 1998 and 2001, when he would have been in his early 30s.
“In the video,” the prosecutor said, “the victim repeatedly, repeatedly, says she is 14 years old.”
In 1998, Kelly allegedly met another girl at a restaurant where she was celebrating her 16th birthday party, invited her to his studio knowing her age, and had sex with her several times after that, each time giving her an envelope with “a large amount of money,” Foxx said.
In 2008, he allegedly met a girl who was under 17 years old while giving autographs during his criminal trial on child pornography charges, and had sex with her multiple times until 2010.
“At times, Robert Kelly would spit on her, slap her on her face and choke her,” the prosecution alleged in court.
Illinois outlaws sex with those under 17 when the partner is at least five years older. Kelly is now 52 and was 31 at the time of the earliest alleged abuse.
In the only case not involving minors, Kelly is accused of trying to force a 24-year-old hairdresser to provide him with oral sex in 2003. When she resisted, he “ejaculated onto the victim and spit in her face several times,” Foxx said.
DNA on the hairdresser’s shirt, tested by police, was found to match Kelly’s DNA profile, prosecutors said.

Although his bail was set at $1 million, Kelly needs to put up only a tenth that amount, or $100,000, to be let out of jail. But Kelly’s attorney was unsure when the singer would be able to pay.
“His finances are a mess,” Greenberg told the judge in court.
After the hearing, he told reporters Kelly would likely put up bail by Monday at the latest and poked holes in the prosecution’s case.
“He’s entitled to a presumption of innocence,” Greenberg said.
“He did not force anyone to have sex. He’s a rock star. He doesn’t have to have non-consensual sex.”
Kelly is next due in court Monday, at which time a trial judge will be assigned to his case. He is scheduled for a March 8 arraignment, when he will have an opportunity to enter a plea.
Allegations of child pornography, sex with minors and sexual battery have dogged Kelly for decades, yet he still managed to enjoy a successful music career.
The musician’s fortunes turned after last month’s broadcast of the docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly,” which once again brought accusations against him to the fore.
High-profile lawyer Michael Avenatti and prominent women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred are representing clients linked to Kelly.
Kelly married his protege Aaliyah in 1994, when the late R&B star was 15 and Kelly was 27. He had produced the teenage singer’s debut album titled “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number.”
Their marriage was later annulled, and Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001.