Last week, actress (and former Miss USA) Susie Castillo made an emotional video at Dallas Airport after she went through security and got a pat down that she says made her feel sexually violated. We called the 31-year-old actress, who's part Puerto Rican and part Dominican, to hear her story for ourselves.
Tell us what happened at Dallas Airport.
I was traveling on business because I was hosting a show in Rio, Brazil. I was connecting in Dallas, Texas and when I connected there, I got a pat down. This pat down was incredibly invasive, and like I say in the video, the TSA agent touched my private area, touched around my breasts, felt my leg all the way up. It was just completely unexpected and I had no idea that she was going to do that. I felt completely helpless. I felt completely violated. It's a huge violation, and not just a physical violation, but it's also a violation of our rights - the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution is supposed to protect us against these things. So what they're doing at airports all over the country by doing these invasive pat downs, is violating our rights. Innocent people are being treated like we’re terrorists - it's unconstitutional, it's immoral, and people are being left in tears. I'm not the only person that this happened to, and that’s why I'm speaking out on the issue now. I've started a petition on my website where I'm giving people a voice to tell their stories. And I'm going to present it personally to Congress.
Are you planning to take action against the airlines?
I've actually been in contact already with a congressman and I've been researching this issue and trying to find out if these things actually do keep us safe. What I learned is, even from the TSA supervisors that I spoke to in Dallas, that there are loopholes in the system. So you know, if there are loopholes in anything, that means that it's not working properly, and if it's not working properly, then why are you violating our rights and why are you violating our bodies? This is happening to people all over the country. I've gotten well over a thousand messages from people thanking me for speaking out on the issue and then also people sharing their horror stories with me. My goal is for TSA to change their policies, to maybe implement a procedure that is more effective, less invasive and that doesn’t violate our constitutional rights.
Have you gotten negative comments since you spoke out?
Oh absolutely. I've had so many comments from people telling me, 'if you don't like the pat down, don't fly.' But for someone like me who has to fly for my job, that's not an option for me. What am I supposed to tell NBC Universal - sorry guys rent me a bus and take me to Rio? That's not an option for many Americans who fly all over for business. I invite them to check out my petition on my homepage at SusieCastillo.net.
After this ordeal, how do you feel about flying?
Honestly, flying now gives me anxiety. Because I don’t want to be touched that way again. But right now, I don’t have a choice.