Worker fired after calling women ‘porn stars’ during confrontation on train

SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah Transit Authority employee is on administrative leave over a video showing a confrontation between the worker and a group of women, according to KSTU.

The video, shot Tuesday by a woman named Lexi, shows him arguing with her along with three of her friends and a bystander after the women said the employee called them “porn stars” and asked them if they were putting feminine hygiene products in each other.

The women said it started when two of them went to the bathroom together to exchange feminine products while on their way to Ogden for the Twilight Concert.

“Right when we got inside, somebody started shaking on the door and was like, 'Only one at a time.' And it was kind of violent,” Camille Hoerner said.

Hoerner said the person didn’t say who they were, and they were gone when the girls opened the door. She said they thought someone tried to break into the bathroom and they felt unsafe.

When the other women had to go to the bathroom, they went in a group of three.

“Safety in numbers,” Lexi said. “We're in a public area.”

After the women returned to their seats, the employee paid them a visit and that’s when they say he began to make inappropriate comments.

“'This isn't Pornhub, this is public transit,'” Alyssa Childs said, explaining what the worker told them. “[He] just proceeded to call us porn stars ... again and again and again.”

The employee left and Christy Atkinson, who saw the first confrontation, she could hear from her seat that the girls were upset.

“I'm like, ‘I'm a mom. I’ve got to step in,'" she said. “I need to step in and do this for these girls.”

Atkinson said she went and found the employee.

“I said, ‘I just want to let you know I’m writing a complaint on you for the girls that you just called Pornhub stars,’” she said.

After Atkinson returned, that’s when they say the employee again came up to their seats. This time, Lexi pulled out her phone to record the interaction from there.

“You came up here and called us porn stars,” Childs says in the video, to the employee.

“You have no right to say that they are porn stars," Atkinson echoes.

Lexi and Childs tell the employee he shook the bathroom door and tried to push it in.

“You know what? I don’t care what you all say,” the employee says.

"You called us porn stars,” Childs tells the employee again.

"I don't care," he responds.

"You should care,” Childs exclaims. “That's unprofessional."

The women talk about how they were exchanging tampons as the reason for doubling up in the bathroom, and ask him what’s wrong with that.

"Why does it take all three of them 10 minutes?” he asks them. “What ... were you putting them in each other?"

"What the [expletive] is that?" Childs responds.

After an exasperated back-and-forth, Atkinson repeats what the employee told the women, and asks, "Did you really just say that?"

"You know what? I don't care why you guys were in there," the employee rebuts.

“You should care,” Childs says. “We are women. We need tampons sometimes.”

At one point the employee tells the women that he tried to ask them several times not to go into the bathroom together.

“You didn't tell me anything once,” Lexi says, disputing his claim. “You didn't tell me anything, until you came up here and called us ‘porn stars,’” Childs tells him.

The employee later says he got complaints about the women from other passengers.

“You have no idea what we catch people in these bathrooms doing,” he says.

Childs follows with, “OK, other people doing their [expletive] doesn't mean that's what we were doing.”

Atkinson said after calling the women names, the employee walked away and they stayed on the train until they got to Ogden.

“You cannot say that to passengers, it's not OK,” she said.

“That was so unprofessional, and uncomfortable and degrading,” Childs said.

Carl Arky, a spokesman for UTA, said the agency saw the video after Atkinson shared it on social media. He said UTA immediately acted.

The employee is on administrative leave, and he said an investigation has been launched.

“We’re sorry that it ever happened,” Arky said. “These are not the kind of encounters we ever want to see happen on our trains, or our buses, or any of our vehicles.”

Arky said there are regulations and policies when it comes to bathrooms on the trains. He said officials will interview the employee to hear his side of the story and work to figure out all the details of what transpired.

At the end of the day, he said, UTA wants to treat all their customers with courtesy and respect.

He said the situation got out of hand, and indicated they’d be talking with all their employees in light of the incident.

Arky said UTA has reached out to one of the families of the women involved, to speak with them.

“We've talked to some UTA representatives and they've been incredibly nice and apologetic to us,” Hoerner said. “But still, we'd like to see action out of this because how he treated us, and how he responded to us was not OK.”

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