Video of US air passenger telling security ‘don’t touch my junk’ become internet sensation
Last updated at 11:33 AM
An American airline passenger who refused an invasive full body search with the words ‘if you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested’ has become an internet sensation.
John Tyner, a 31-year-old software engineer from California, resisted a ‘groin check’ at San Diego Airport which resulted in him being escorted from the premises.
His encounter has now been taken up by protesters who claim new security checks are an invasion of privacy.
Protests: Many Americans are upset at what they see as ‘invasive’ searches
An online campaign in the US dubbed ‘National Opt-Out Day’ is in full swing, urging people to refuse body checks during one of America’s busiest travel days of the year, leading up to Thanksgiving on November 25.
Video footage of Mr Tyner’s encounter at the airport records a conversation between a security official and the passenger as he explains how the search procedure works.
After telling Mr Tyner he will be sliding his hand over his groin area ‘two times in the front and two times in the back’ he asks the passenger if he would prefer the search to be done in private or in public.
John Tyner’s video has become an internet sensation
Mr Tyner responds that he would prefer it in public, but threatens police involvement if the airport worker goes near his ‘junk’, meaning his groin.
The latest clash is seen as a result of long-simmering annoyance among passengers with the increased use of full body scanners and intrusive searches.
About 300 scanners are in use at 60 US airports and the Transportation Security Administration hopes to deploy approximately 500 more by the end of the year.
Not all travellers are selected to go through the scanners, but the TSA requires people who decline to submit to pat-downs that include checks of the inside of their thighs and buttocks.
Mr Tyner declined to go through the full-body scanner and refused to submit to a groin check as part of a pat-down. He was thrown out of the airport on Saturday after being threatened with a fine and lawsuit.
When interviewed about his notoriety, Mr Tyner said: ‘I don’t think I did anything heroic. I stood up for what I thought was right.’
His confrontation has spawned online sales of T-shirts, bumper stickers, hats and even underwear emblazoned with the words, ‘Don’t Touch My Junk!’
Mr Tyner’s protest has gone viral just as another video has come to light showing a screaming three-year-old being searched at Chattanooga Airport in Tennessee.
The girl’s father filmed the search as he felt it was unnecessary, particularly as his daughter was so distressed.
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However, Joseph Schwieterman, a Chicago-based transportation expert, said: ‘Americans have yet to make any really major sacrifices for their security.
‘Pat-downs and scanners are minimally evasive – and there’s even resistance to this, just 15 seconds of awkwardness.’
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