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Kasım 1, 2023
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Kasım 1, 2023
UK’s elite Red Arrows condemned for ‘widespread’ sexual harassment

Sexual harassment and bullying were “widespread and normalised” in the UK’s Red Arrows, one of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams, the findings of an inquiry released on Wednesday said. The elite squad — whose flypast leaving red, white and blue trails in the sky for King Charles III’s coronation was beamed around the world last May — is part of the Royal Air Force and performs scores of displays each year. But according to the inquiry findings, harassment was directed predominantly towards women and would have created an “intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”. In some instances, women were treated as “property” by individuals or by a squadron. To protect themselves, the women formed groups known as “shark watch” aimed at keeping some male members of the display team at bay during social occasions. According to the report, misplaced loyalty and a fear of ruining someone’s career allowed the damaging culture to persist. Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Richard Knighton, apologised and said he was “appalled” by the findings. The report added that it was highly likely women had to deal with unwanted physical contact, unwanted sexual text messages, comments about their appearance and invitations to have sex. “The reports show that during the period investigated, unacceptable behaviours were widespread and normalised,” Knighton said. “The behaviours described by witnesses in the reports have no place in the Royal Air Force or anywhere else,” he added. “Actions have been taken against a number of individuals, up to and including dismissal from the service,” he said, adding that he was “intent on rebuilding public trust in one of our highest profile units”.

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