No prosecution for men who allegedly hurled tirade of anti-gay abuse at lesbian couple on Ryanair flight

homophobic abuse ryanair

A group of men who reportedly hurled anti-LGBT+ abuse at a lesbian couple on a Ryanair flight will not be prosecuted, police have said.

In June 2019, Laura Muldoon tweeted a picture of the group on her Ryanair flight from Stansted airport to Seville, and said that they had launched a homophobic tirade and her and her partner.

Alongside the picture, she wrote: “First holiday snap! Of this bunch of lads who chanted that I was a ‘miserable b***h’, ‘dyke’ and ‘lesbo’ (very well observed!) on Ryanair flight 12.27 from Stansted to Seville today.

“Oh yeah, flight crew did nothing.”

Muldoon said: “The noise kept rising and eventually I asked a flight attendant to tell them to be quiet and that they were swearing a lot.

“I think at this point, the men realised it was me that made the complaint and started referring to me using my seat number while shhh-ing very loudly as a collective.”
She said the group tried to send her a drink, which she declined, and then began a football-style chant singing “C28 never stops moaning, she’s a miserable b****h, we sent her a white wine but she rejected it”, followed by “lesbos, lesbos, lesbos”.

Afterwards, in a complaint to Ryanair, Muldoon said: “I also have friends who I know would, and do, feel more vulnerable in situations like this, and who I wanted to speak out on behalf of from my relatively privileged position of being what some might say [is] more ‘straight looking’.

“It felt like their behaviour was totally out of control.”

Ryanair responded to her by saying: “We pride ourselves on the high standards of service and professionalism provided by all of our staff and maintain these standards which ensure our staff are constantly reminded of their most important function: to be friendly and professional at all times.

“I do sincerely regret that this was not reflected to you on this occasion.”
But Muldoon said that the “generic response shows they don’t care about women, LGBTQ+ people or in fact anyone”.

The incident was later investigated by Essex Police.

But now, according to the BBC, police have said that because of “evidential difficulties”, there was no “realistic prospect of a successful prosecution”.

An Essex Police spokesperson said they had conducted “extensive inquiries”, and that anyone with more information was encouraged to contact the police force.

Travelling can be a difficult experience for LGBT+ people, but airlines are slowing becoming more inclusive.

At the end of last year, budget airline carrier EasyJet scrapped announcements with the phrase “ladies and gentlemen”, and began providing staff with guidance on how to use friendly and inclusive greetings to avoid “reinforcing the gender binary”.