Woman who sparked reclining seat debate to press assault charges, wants flight attendant fired

(Video screenshots)

The American Airlines reclining seat controversy just got way more complicated thanks to a shocking move by one of the parties involved.

Wendi Williams, the woman made famous last week after she uploaded a now-viral video to the Internet showing the American Airlines passenger behind her punching her fully reclined seat, is out for blood.

In an exclusive interview with TMZ over the weekend, she demanded that the airline provide her with the name of the man who’d been seated behind her so that she can press charges, and that a flight attendant named Loretta be fired.

I want to know who he is. I would like to press charges against this man because I was assaulted on that plane. And American Airlines, I would like the flight attendant, Loretta, fired,” she said.

Listen to the full interview below:

(Source: TMZ)

The interview began with Williams recounting her side of the story.

She claimed that before she’d started recording the man, he’d been punching her seat much harder, to the point that she’d been “falling forward hard.”

“What he was doing before that was assault,” she said. “My body was being thrown forward. It happened once, and I thought maybe, who knows, freak accident, whatever. Then again, at which point it happened every 20 to 30 seconds, and probably happened eight times, and that’s when I started videoing.”

“He said something like, ‘Do you have something to say?’ And I said, ‘What’s your problem?’ And he said, ‘Well, I asked you not to recline your seat while I ate, and then you put it right back down when I was done.'”

To hear Williams tell it, her behavior was completely reasonable. Of course, the public hasn’t yet heard from the man who was seated behind her.

Williams then claimed that when she tried complaining about the man’s behavior to Loretta, the flight attendant instead came after her for her video.

“[Loretta] came over to me kind of huffy and said, ‘What?’ I said the guy behind me is purposefully and repeatedly hitting me like a child,” she said.

“And her response was to go back to him … and she was like, ‘It is tight back here. I’m so sorry.’ And I was sitting there like, is she kidding me? And then she came to me and told me to delete the video.”

The original video may be seen below:

Before publishing its interview with Williams, TMZ reached out to American Airlines for comment. A representative with the airline responded by making some unsavory claims about the woman.

A rep for American tells us they’ll continue to look into the matter and that they tried to deescalate the situation by asking Wendi to stop filming,” the outlet reported.

We’re told the whole thing started when she first reclined her seat and knocked over the male’s drink. The rep adds that the whole thing would not have been an issue if both passengers would have just been respectful to each other.”

After TMZ’s full report was published and Williams learned of what the rep had said, she angrily took to Twitter to fact-check the airline.


In a follow-up report published Saturday, TMZ revealed that Williams is now mulling filing a defamation suit against American airlines.

As for the heated debate over who was actually in the wrong, it continues to grow more divided. Just take a look at the replies to Williams’ own tweets:

The country hasn’t been this divided since former President Barack Hussein Obama’s divisive tenure in office.


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Vivek Saxena


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