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Orlando TSA Managers Mock 'Pickle-Smoking' Gays


The TSA is conducting an internal investigation at an Orlando Field Office regarding a 'Jeopardy'-style board posted by employees that mocked various minorities including gays and lesbians, CNN reports:

"The board, resembling the TV game show 'Jeopardy,' includes categories such as 'pickle smokers,' 'our gang' and 'creatures,' which sources said were names used by managers for gay men, African-Americans and lesbians."

Lovely. Just think what fun they'll make of your naked body-scan photos.

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  1. I've had this discussion with plenty of people and everyone agrees: comedy will be dead the day stereotypes are forbidden.

    I see nothing wrong if people are at their job and do something like this so long as nobody ELSE finds out about it. Is what they did right?- no, not really. Can I understand it?- yes, because it's in peoples' nature to make fun of things even when they don't mean any harm.

    Some people have no sense of humor aside from their own, so they may not accept my explanation of why this stuff happens.

    Posted by: Drew | Jan 30, 2010 4:56:06 PM

  2. Now doesn't make you feel safer getting on a plane it also explains why there are so many lapses of security at the airports. your tax dollars at work

    Posted by: walter | Jan 30, 2010 5:20:16 PM

  3. @Drew - I don't pay taxes to have some civil servant throw their weight around, make fun of my life style and ridcule those who are gay, african american, or anything else in the office. If I want that I will go watch Kathy Griffin.

    This is why we are doomed. These people are uneducated and deserve repremands and suspension and if they were my employees, they would be fired. This is why our security is a joke and we will no doubt have harrassment when full body scanners are installed.

    At minimum, security screeners should have degress in psycology. Israeli Airlines would never permit this, and this is why they have never had a loss of life from terroist acts. Their screeners are professional, have 4 year college degrees, and act as so.

    You are there to work, if you want to joke around, then do it on your own time, with your own means and off my dime.

    Posted by: David | Jan 30, 2010 5:24:29 PM

  4. Fire them all.

    Posted by: Jay | Jan 30, 2010 5:42:08 PM

  5. Glad to see they're still hiring the cream o' the crop at TSA.

    Posted by: niles | Jan 30, 2010 5:45:11 PM

  6. I happen to enjoy smoking a nice pickle at the end of the work day. It helps me relax. I am happy that my demographic is considered when drilling TSA employees on their duties, except I'm not sure how many pickle smokers have been terrorists.

    Posted by: NoSleep4Sam | Jan 30, 2010 6:21:11 PM

  7. This is exactly the sort of thing my partner (a professional chef) and I do over drinks with his staff. We call the game "Racism" despite the fact that its targets never seem to be defined by race, per se. Lesbians, elderly people, drunks, and middle-aged women who're obsessed with their weight get a particularly sound thrashing, as does anyone requiring in depth knowledge of every ingredient on the menu and those who require guilt-free meat ("But are they _free range_ prawns?").

    Far from resulting in inferior service or abuse, blowing off steam and a common code language for covert ridicule is a technique for gracious handling patrons staff would rather poison. People are _obnoxious_, and anyone in a service industry is entitled to all the behind the scenes snark they need.

    "Lovely. Just think what fun they'll make of your naked body-scan photos."

    Honey, I don't care what strangers say about me, naked or otherwise. It's called being an adult. You self righteous, self designated career victims might want to try it sometime. Of course you'll first have to acquire a spine and an identity that isn't dependent on public approval.

    Me, I'm printing up a "Pickle Smoker" t-shirt to wear when I fly to New York next week.

    Posted by: Bryan | Jan 30, 2010 6:33:08 PM

  8. "I'll take 'Diversity Training' for $600, Alex."

    "Now offering more daily departures from tolerance and respect for others with direct connections to bigotry and harassment."

    "What is the TSA"

    Posted by: Timzilla | Jan 30, 2010 6:33:41 PM

  9. I think it's childishly nasty. But, still, notice how gays don't like it when the tables are turned on them?

    Posted by: JT | Jan 30, 2010 6:39:36 PM

  10. "I'll take 'Diversity Training' for $600, Alex"

    "Now offering more departures from tolerance and respect for others with direct-connections to bigotry and harassment than any other agency."

    "What is the TSA."

    Posted by: Timzilla | Jan 30, 2010 6:39:46 PM

  11. And yes, comedy will suffer a blow when stereotypes have expired. But that's not going to happen anytime soon. And we all saw how funny michael richards was, huh? Maybe some stereotypes that aren't meant to be anything but cruel to an entire group of people aren't that funny...unless you disagree, and think it's funny when jokes are made about lynchings... Anything can be funny, but not in that context. And if you think for one second that the people who wrote this don't have anything but seething contempt for your very existence, you're an idiot. That's another thing that distinguishes comedy from racism or homophobia.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 30, 2010 6:42:05 PM

  12. @DAVID: "I don't pay taxes to have some civil servant throw their weight around, make fun of my life style and ridcule those who are gay, african american, or anything else in the office. If I want that I will go watch Kathy Griffin.

    This is why we are doomed."

    No, David. We're doomed when a gay man refers to his own sexual orientation as a "lifestyle". Doomed, doomed, doomed.

    Posted by: Dickster | Jan 30, 2010 6:49:56 PM

  13. There's a nagger filter! I wonder how many orlando TSA managers are naggers.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 30, 2010 6:55:17 PM

  14. @BRYAN: Both you and your partner sound like major league douche bags.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jan 30, 2010 6:56:22 PM

  15. So "our gang" = African-Americans - so I presume these TSA employees mocking gays as "pickle smokers" were African-American.

    And you STILL need more evidence that the majority of black Americans are not allies of gays and lesbians?

    WHY are not picketing their chuches the way some picketed the Mormon church?

    Naggers, all of them.

    Posted by: GrabbinNewscum | Jan 30, 2010 7:32:52 PM

  16. "@Drew - I don't pay taxes to have some civil servant throw their weight around, make fun of my life style"

    Let's not carried away, because the venerable and overused cliche of "My tax dollars at work!" doesn't work here. Public servants are elected, so I equate TSA personnel to say, club bouncers with a more thorough background check. They can do/say/post whatever they want, but keep it out of plain sight.

    Posted by: Drew | Jan 30, 2010 8:49:01 PM

  17. There's only one legitimate place I've found to watch it, the rest seem like scams :-/ You can see it over here though:

    Posted by: Jonnydrammyxx | Jan 30, 2010 9:00:23 PM

  18. Bryan,

    Post the name of your partner's dive so those of us who might be/know "Lesbians, elderly people, drunks, and middle-aged women who're obsessed with their weight" or "self righteous, self designated career victims" can spend our money somewhere else.

    No reason why we should spend it in some seedy joint where such infantile behavior as you enjoy is considered "being an adult".

    With so little respect for other people the norm at your partner's dive, the health code violations must be horrific.

    I can see the place settings now - fork, knife, spoon, and stomach pump.

    Posted by: David | Jan 30, 2010 9:45:37 PM

  19. They're job is to screen passengers boarding planes for weapons or bombs or drugs. They are not being paid to search and harass blacks, LGBT, the handicapped for some dumb-ass, immature game. Can their asses. At least they're unprofessional. At worst they're bigots.

    Posted by: Wheezy | Jan 30, 2010 10:16:21 PM

  20. This is the forth story coming out of Orlando in just a few months.

    1. Graffiti at the LGBT Center and Ritzy Rags
    2. The trans woman being denied employment at McDonalds
    3. All of the cars tires getting slashed at Revolution on Latin night
    4. Now this TSA discrimination

    Is anyone ready for direct action in Orlando? If so, I have a great project to really crack open (through civil disobedience) a major employer that is discriminating in that city.

    Let me know -

    Posted by: Alan Bounville | Jan 30, 2010 10:23:29 PM

  21. @Drew - Civil Servents....reread my statement.

    Life style, yah I'm gay. I was born that way, and gay is my life style, just as it is with straights, bisexuals and any other life style. I didn't say I chose it, I said it is my style, what I am, who I am.

    Posted by: David | Jan 30, 2010 10:29:11 PM

  22. BTW: this all took place in an Air Marshal office, not the screener office.

    I'm not terribly surprised that the air marshals engage in this kind of racist, macho, homophobic crap, but disappointed, nevertheless. In HR-speak, it's creating a hostile work environment for anyone but their little narrow-minded selves.

    I've worked in service, at restaurants, etc. Whatever comments I made about obnoxious customers had nothing to do with their race, sex, sexual orientation, etc. It had to do with their behavior towards me.

    Posted by: David R. | Jan 30, 2010 10:52:26 PM

  23. Grabbin - Just because these particular "culprits" are African-American still doesn't mean ALL AAs are homophobic. But I agree they seem to have a higher percentage of homophobes.

    Posted by: Talkin | Jan 31, 2010 12:20:12 AM

  24. it's just wrong to be ridiculed by anybody, let alone people who are paid with my (our) money. i don't care if they do it privately or publicly, it is wrong. so they do it as a team-buildint exercise? it is wrong to build anything on racist and sexist bullshit. if federal employees are doing any damn thing to classify people as pickle smokers or creatures or our gang, then they are operating way outside professional guidelines. i have grave misgivings about the whole Homeland Security department, and i think this is just another instance of a horribly-run operation with no standards. Do the people they employ have even a bachelor's degree or equivelant? Probably not. and national standards are not enforced. I think Napolitano needs a serious talking too, and I suspect she needs to lose her job. I'd tell her so, if there were a way to contact her.

    Posted by: kevin | Jan 31, 2010 12:53:48 AM

  25. I always love reading the comments here at towleroad, since I can get a side of racism with my moral superiority.

    I think "Our Gang" is most likely a buckwheat reference, and not an indication of the race that these employees happened to be.

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Jan 31, 2010 1:28:38 AM

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