Cute blonde profiling?
That is essentially the claim of former Baywatch beauty Donna D'Errico. As if we mere mortals don't have enough problems with the new TSA body scan and intimate pat-downs, the TV actress is claiming that TSA screeners at the Los Angeles International Airport singled her out for a full body scan because they thought she was pretty.
D'Errico was on her way to Pittsburgh on a family emergency with her 17-year-old son when she was pulled out of the security line for an extra search, reports AoLNews. D'Errico claims that she was not given the normal choice of a TSA body scan or a pat-down, but just put right into the scan. When she asked the agent why he had singled her out, he reportedly said, "'Because you caught my eye, and they' -- pointing to the other passengers -- 'didn't.'"
D'Errico was a swimsuit-clad star of TV hit Baywatch and a Playboy Playmate (c. 1996) and yet was angered and humiliated by the treatment.
"[It] is my personal belief that they pulled me aside because they thought I was attractive," D'Errico told AoL. She went on to say that if the TSA screeners were looking those who fit the "stereotypical 'look' of a terrorist" they would have pulled aside her boyfriend, Merv Griffin Entertainment exec Roy J. Bank, who D'Errico says more closely fits that description when he hasn't shaved. Bank and a business partner were traveling on the same airline that evening on business.
Beyond any lingering accusations of narcissism by a woman who feels singled out because she is cute, the incident points up the problems the TSA still faces with the public's perception of the scanners. D'Errico claims that not only was her experience unnecessary and humiliating, but that her friend went all the way through security without realizing she had left sharp gardening shears in her carry-on bag, writes AoL. She didn't remember until she reached into the bag mid-flight, and accidentally cut her hand. So, does the screening system work? If not, is it a reasonable search under those circumstances?
TSA spokesman Nico Melendez thinks D'Errico's claims aren't accurate. "If you see the images, you'll know it's not a naked picture," he told AoL. "The passengers are selected at random and not because they're celebrities." And, he added, if the screeners were smiling and whispering as D'Errico claims, then perhaps it was because they recognized her." This statement does not help the assurance that celebs and other interesting or attractive citizens of any stripe won't be singled out for extra security attention.
Will Donna D'Errico sue? Unlikely, but her experience will be one more chalk mark on the pros and cons list of the TSA security in everyone's mind, celeb or civilian, hot or not.