TSA suspends two agents for allegedly hanging stuffed gorillas on a noose as a ‘joke’

Elise Solé
Two employees of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) were put on leave for allegedly hanging two stuffed gorillas from a noose, in a workstation. (Photo: Getty Images)

Two agents from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) were ordered on leave for allegedly hanging two stuffed gorillas by a noose at work.

While TSA vaguely called the object “an offensive display,” CNN, which accessed a photo of said display, described it with detail. It was reportedly hung at Miami International Airport on a "pole right in the center of the TSA workstation located underneath the airport where passengers' checked luggage is screened before being placed on aircraft."

An employee told CNN that once informed about the display, a manger "tried to downplay the noose and gorilla display, saying it wasn't racist, it was just a joke."

A TSA spokesperson sent Yahoo Lifestyle a statement: “An offensive display was discovered in a TSA baggage screening area located in the non-public side of Miami International Airport. TSA Officers immediately reported it to TSA Management. The display was immediately removed and an investigation was launched into who was responsible for the unacceptable behavior. TSA does not tolerate racist or offensive behavior and those found responsible will be held accountable for their actions. Two TSA Officers have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.”

The spokesperson added, “We choose not to describe the display under investigation. This reprehensible act runs absolutely counter to the values of the agency and therefore we do not want to provide it any credence.”

Airport spokesperson Greg Shin tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “Miami International Airport does not condone offensive behavior or materials of any kind. This display was discovered in an area managed and staffed by TSA in the airport. TSA is addressing this issue with their employees.”

CNN cited emails from TSA employee Patricia Cogswell that reportedly read, "given the number of emails and such coming in to HQ about the MIA situation, please pull together a message for SO (senior officers) to issue, and think about other information that should go out to all offices."

One from employee Darby Lajoye reportedly stated, "We've been made aware of an extremely troubling event in Miami this week involving a racially charged, disturbing display that cuts at the very core of who we are and what we stand for as an agency....TSA has zero tolerance for acts like this. We have already ordered an independent investigation and all individuals potentially involved have been placed on Administrative leave while the investigation is underway."

On Tuesday, Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez tweeted in part, “#OurCounty has zero tolerance for racism.”

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