Carnival Cruise Lines hasn't had much good PR recently, what with that protest against its tax shenanigans and labor policies, the horrific and deadly Costa Concordia accident, and its plummeting stock.
A lawsuit claiming that employees forced a 17-year-old girl to remove her tampon and then strip-searched her for weed is not going to help the locally-based company, which is helmed by Miami Heat owner Micky Arison.
According to the recently-filed lawsuit, the girl -- only identified as J.G.-- was on the unfortunately-named Sensation in April 2011 when she took a jaunt ashore in Nassau, Bahamas. Upon her return, according to the suit, an employee found a small bag of "green leaves and substance" on the floor of the elevator with J.G.
That's when things got ugly. Without contacting her parents, the suit claims, three female employees interrogated the girl about where the marijuana came from. They then "threatened" and "coerced" her into lifting her dress to her waist. They made her remove a tampon and (this is indeed a scary quote) "her genital cavity was inspected visually by the female currently known only as LETICIA."
Two male employees were in plain sight of the strip search, according to the suit. She also was made to urinate in front of the crowd.
J.G. was taken off the ship and placed in Bahamian jail, where she spent the night and was "assaulted", according to the suit. Reunited with her mom, they found their own way home to Florida two days later.
J.G. claims no marijuana was ever found on her person-- which is kind of a bummer after strip searching a minor.
Courthouse News Service has uploaded the complaint here.
We've left a message for Carnival, but have not yet received any response.
Update: Spokesperson Aly Bello has sent us a statement:
Carnival does not typically comment on pending litigation, but feels compelled to do so given the far-fetched claims made in this lawsuit. The claim that the plaintiff was strip searched is patently false, and obviously made in retaliation for the cruise line having disembarked the plaintiff and her mother part-way through the voyage in Nassau where the plaintiff was taken into custody by the Bahamian police.
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