'I wasn't drunk on the plane and I called the flight attendant a witch, not a bitch'
Published 15/01/2014 | 02:30
FASHION guru Ralph Lauren's niece has claimed that she was not drunk during her air rage meltdown on a transatlantic flight that was forced to land in Ireland -- and denied pushing anybody.
Jenny Lauren said that she only had one drink and "stood up for myself" because an air stewardess was being "rude and unkind".
In her first public comments on the case Lauren (41) also claimed that she was the one who felt "threatened" -- and not the other passengers.
Lauren's statement seems at odds with her guilty plea at Ennis District court in Co Clare last week to air-rage offences and breaching the peace, for which she was fined €2,000 before being freed to fly home.
The jewellery designer had blown up last Monday on a flight from Barcelona to New York, forcing it to make an emergency landing at Shannon Airport to remove her.
The court, which initially met in the function room of the Brian Boru pub in Ballina, was told that she pushed an air stewardess up against a wall during the fracas at 30,000ft.
But in a statement to the 'New York Post', she said: "I would never hurt anybody. I was not intoxicated. I did not push anyone."
Lauren claimed that contrary to being on a 'cocktail' of prescription medication and alcohol as was claimed in court, a single bloody Mary she had on board was "my first and only drink".
Lauren said: "I stood up for myself to one stewardess who was rude and unkind and the next thing you know, they were landing the plane. I was rushing up to see my friend in first class when they said they were going to land the plane. They threatened me."
Inspector Tom Kennedy said the row erupted because Lauren had problems with her reclining seat.
He said that she called Jennifer Simpson, a member of the cabin crew, a "fat, ugly, unhappy, blonde bitch" and told another female staff member, Constance Topping, that she was "a f****** ugly, blonde bitch". Lauren was also said to have told an arresting garda: "Can you repeat that in English, please?"
The costs of the diversion to Delta Air Lines totalled over $43,000 (€31,000) -- and Lauren may yet face civil proceedings from the company.
The incident caused extreme embarrassment to the Lauren family although Lauren has had her problems in the past and wrote a book on her battle with eating disorders. Lauren flew home to New York the day after being freed and has been staying in her 15th floor Manhattan apartment.
In her statement she admitted that she might have lost her temper but said she didn't swear. Lauren said: "When they announced that the plane was landing due to a passenger, I am ashamed to admit, I called that one stewardess a 'blonde, fat, unhappy witch'."
In the wake of the incident Melanie Beck, one of Lauren's close friends, said she may have been drinking to calm her "long-standing" fear of flying.
But Lauren's brother Brad admitted that she "can be explosive with her temper" and that he wasn't surprised.