Reality star Khloe Kardashian likened the newly-enforced TSA security pat downs to “public rape” this week. Crisis groups that support rape and abuse victims are less than impressed.
"Well, they basically just are raping you in public,” Kardashian told George Lopez during an appearance on his show Monday night. "The people are so aggressive! It's like, 'Chill out, you didn't find anything on me yet, calm down.’ They say, 'OK, I'm going to be patting you down and I'm going to be touching the crease of your ass.' That is so inappropriate!"
Katherine Hull, the spokesperson for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), told Pop Tarts that "Rape is a serious violent crime. While many survivors of sexual assault have expressed concern about the new airport security measures, the word ‘rape’ should be used only in situations that describe that crime.”
The folks at Pandora’s Project, an organization that provides support and information to rape and sexual abuse survivors, also lashed out at Kardashian’s word choice.
“Comparing the two is inappropriate and cheapens the devastation of sexual violence. Rape is sexual contact without consent and the screening procedures are non-sexual contact with consent,” Jessica Sears Brown, Co-Founder of Pandora’s Project said. “We understand that Ms. Kardashian found her screening to be uncomfortable. Many survivors we serve do, too. However, I highly doubt she’ll need years of therapy to rebuild her sense of safety and trust in the world after undergoing a TSA screening.”
Beverly Hills-based psychologist Dr. Lisa Murphy was also disgusted by the “rape” language.
“It is both ignorant and insensitive to the many victims of violence out there. Although the current airport screening procedures are widely thought to be too invasive, they shouldn’t be compared to actual violence,” she said. “The issue of rape should never be treated lightly, nor should it ever find its way into the punch line of a joke.”
Kardashian isn’t the only celebrity to get bent out of shape by the new screening procedures.
Former “Baywatch” star and Playboy pin-up Donna D’Errico is upset by the procedure and feels she was singled out by officers due to her pleasing aesthetic.
"I noticed that the male TSA agent who had pulled me out of line was smiling and whispering with two other TSA agents and glancing at me. I was outraged,” the 42-year-old fumed to AOL News, adding that she wasn’t even given the option of a full-body scan.
Singer Josh Groban also made light of the situation last month when he tweeted “Randomly picked for the pat down. I'm now a full fledged counter-tenor,” and rapper Lupe Fiasco went on quite the rant.
“Body Scan Opt-Out Number 2!!! Again what's the point if everybody DOESN'T have 2 go thru??? The sense it doesn't make baffles the mind!” he tweeted.
So is it time that celebrities stopped complaining and simply accepted that they have to deal with the procedures just the same as every other traveler in America?
“We all have to go through this and it is pathetic for celebrities to think what is happening to them isn’t happening to anyone else," pop culture analyst Elayne Rapping said. "These are low-profile celebrities probably trying to get attention; it is not like Angelina Jolie is complaining. This is narcissistic and overkill.”
Actress Julie Benz is one star who isn’t opposed to being touched by a TSA officer in the name of national security is.
“The TSA employees are doing their job. I'd rather be felt up then have somebody get on a plane with a bomb,” Benz recently told Pop Tarts. “Unfortunately we live in a time where security on flights is very important. They're working it out. Is this the right choice? Who knows, but it is a choice, and I'd rather be safe then sorry. If you want to feel me up, feel me up. I would hate to be on a plane where they didn't catch the guy when he was going through security."
And then there’s Ne-Yo, who wasn’t quite sure what was even going on days after the news of the new security measure hit headlines.
“TSA scanners? I’m confused? Why would I be?” the perplexed Grammy-winner responded when we asked if he feared being singled out due to his celebrity status. “I’m not afraid of going through them, not at all.”
- Deidre Behar contributed to this report.