JetBlue flight attendant accused of cursing at passenger granted bail

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Correction — August 13, 2010
The title of this article is misleading. The man was not granted bail over any charges related to swearing, although he is facing other charges related to this incident. Wikinews did not intend this meaning to be conveyed by the title.
Slater allegedly cursed at an airline passenger after the passenger accidentally hit him with their luggage and cursed at him.
Image: Steven Slater.

JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, who allegedly cursed at a passenger on an airplane intercom, quit his job, grabbed some beer from a beverage cart, and exited the airplane using an emergency slide, was released on $2,500 bail by New York City police Tuesday night.

Slater's intercom cursing and dramatic exit was apparently provoked by a passenger who swore at Slater and hit him with her luggage. Defense attorney Howard Turman said that "The woman [who hit Slater] was outraged and cursed him out a great deal." According to prosecutors, Slater also said on the address system that "those of you who have shown dignity and respect these last 20 years, thanks for a great ride."

According to passenger Phil Catelinet, Slater seemed happy after he made the expletive-laced announcement which included "to the passenger who just called me a mother fucker, fuck you. I've been in this business 28 years and I've had it." Catelinet recalled "he was smiling. He was happy he'd done this."

Slater was arrested by police for activating the emergency escape slide, which could have crushed someone on the runway as the heavy slide came down. The 38-year-old is charged with criminal mischief, criminal trespassing, and reckless endangerment. JetBlue, a low-cost US airline, declined to say if Slater was on paid leave and in a statement the company said that "at no time was the security or safety of our customers or crewmembers at risk."

Slater has gained more than 140,000 fans on Facebook and a thousand people have joined a group named "Free Steven Slater". Other groups that have sprung up include "I hate the mother fucker who called Steven Slater a mother fucker" and "I want Steven Slater to be my flight attendant".