As I do my best to empower people through my blog, some people prefer instead to spread lies and throw tomatoes at me from the back row in order to further their own agenda. After my recent debacle with the TSA at Dallas-Fort Worth airport, the travel editor from the Huffington Post, Kate Auletta, decided to post a slanderous article about me full of "digs" and lies that I want to clear up. Once again, I'm sticking up for myself.
An excerpt of the character-bashing article was posted on The Huffington Post and linked to in its entirety on AOL Travel. I've posted it below, followed by the list of reasons Ms. Auletta is WAY off in her "reporting":
Susie Castillo's TSA Rant: 'I Didn't Want To Be Radiated On'
by Kate Auletta
Posted Apr 28th 2011 02:15 PMSusie Castillo, ex-MTV VJ and former Miss USA 2003, was traveling back to Los Angeles from Rio de Janiero via the Dallas-Forth Worth airport when she was "molested" by a TSA agent after opting out of a full-body scan.
Castillo explains to her viewers on her self-filmed video shot at the airport that she intentionally opted to stand in the line that avoided the full-body scanners because she--no joke--"didn't want to be radiated on" even more than she is normally.
After she was told by a TSA agent that if she opted out of a scan then she would have to submit to a full-body patdown, she was "violated" as a female TSA agent touched her vagina four times.
In the video, Castillo says, "I'm crying because I'm really upset that as an American, I have to go through this. I do feel violated ... I completely feel violated." Castillo took her blog to discuss the incident because, in the words of Gandhi (yup), she's hoping to "be the change [she] hopes to see in the world."
The former beauty queen writes: "What bothered me most was when she ran the back of her hands down my behind, felt around my breasts, and even came in contact with my vagina! Honestly, I was in shock, especially since the woman at LAX never actually touched me there. The TSA employee at DFW touched private area 4 times, going up both legs from behind and from the front, each time touching me there. Was I at my gynecologist's office? No! This was crazy!"
Castillo talked to a TSA agent to complain and she writes that she told the agent "the fact is, if someone wanted to harm us, they simply would." Castillo claims the TSA agent agreed and told her: "We're not allowed to touch children like we do adults. If someone really wanted to hide something, they could use a child. I know. [There are] definitely loop holes with this."
Castillo filled out a TSA complaint card (you can do so in person, over the phone or online). Check out her complaint here.
This isn't the first time a celebrity has complained about the TSA: Khloe Kardashian famously likened a patdown to rape, while Whoopi Goldberg sided with the TSA in November calling patdowns "necessary."
Watch Castillo's rant below:
Where do I begin?! So...
1. I want to preface the following points by speaking to the integrity of AOL/Huffington Post. Some of you may have heard about the recent debacle where Alec Baldwin, a spokesperson for AOL, wrote an article for HuffPo where he attacked an AOL/HuffPo writer named Oliver Miller. Why did Baldwin attack Miller? Because Miller wrote a malicious, exploitative article about Baldwin, entitled "Jim Parsons Won An Emmy - But Got A Rude Message From Loser Alec Baldwin."
What was the rude message? Well, after Parsons bested Baldwin at the Emmys, Baldwin sent Parsons a wine and cheese basket and a note that said, "Congratulations you talented, charming bastard."
Knowing Alec Baldwin, does it sound like he was trying to be mean? No. Of course not. Baldwin has a sense of humor, as does Parsons. It was clearly sent as a gracious congratulatory gift. So then why would Oliver Miller take something positive and twist it into something scandalous?
“I feel bad about the title,” Miller tells FOX411.com . “AOL wanted attention-getting titles, it didn’t really have to relate to the content, so the title I wrote was sort of purposely misleading. It was meant to be a joke, because the article itself was jokey. I didn’t know Alec Baldwin worked for us, and it was one of eight to ten articles that I had written that day.”
If Kate Auletta is doing everything she can to get her articles noticed by AOL/HuffPo higher-ups, it's in her best interest to create slanderous, scandalous titles. It's systemic, and verification of facts is clearly secondary. Speaking of facts...
2. Auletta is supposedly a journalist (or perhaps just a blogger?), yet did no research to fact check before posting this ridiculous article. I NEVER used the words "I didn't want to be radiated on." Not in my video and not in my blog. What I DID say in my video was, "I don't want to get more radiated than I already do in everyday life." Technically, the proper word is irradiated not radiated, but what can I say, I was a bit flustered at that moment, having just had my entire body touched by a stranger.
3. The definition of "rant" is as follows:
- (n.) High-sounding language, without importance or dignity of thought; boisterous, empty declamation; bombast; as, the rant of fanatics.
- (v. i.) To rave in violent, high-sounding, or extravagant language, without dignity of thought; to be noisy, boisterous, and bombastic in talk or declamation; as, a ranting preacher.
Does my behavior in the video I made that day, in any way, sound like the above? I was certainly emotional, but I wasn't "ranting." I expressed how I felt in a dignified and respectful manner because -- yup, you guessed it, Ms. Auletta -- I try to "be the change I wish to see in the world" on a daily basis.
4. I never said "I was molested." In that moment (because it had JUST happened), I said I felt like I was molested. When a complete stranger repeatedly touched EVERY private area on my body, that's exactly what I felt like. How a person feels is relative to them in that moment, and nobody has the right to judge.
5. If you're going to set out to make someone look stupid to please your superiors, you may want to make sure that YOU don't do that to yourself in the process. One would think an editor would know how to edit her own work. In the 4th paragraph, she probably meant to say, "Castillo took TO her blog..."
In an interview entitled "Time Traveling With Kate Auletta", Auletta was asked "If you could meet one person from history, who would it be?" She gives 5 names, one of them being Thomas Jefferson. I wonder if she knows that at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC, there's an engravement from one of his writing passages that reads, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." I happen to agree with Jefferson, especially as it relates to the TSA's violations of our (Auletta's included) Constitutional Rights.
Auletta should return to writing about less important things like flowers and fashion, as she did in her previous jobs. Or perhaps, may I suggest that as travel editor, she should stick to writing about her latest trip to Germany where she had the best bratwurst of her life, or her trip to the Arab world where she smoked a bit too much hookah.
In researching Auletta's work, I came across her Twitter page where I found this post (see insert):
What was the story that "made her day," you ask? The story was about a big brawl on a Virgin Atlantic flight to Barbados. People were throwing punches; it was vicious and frightening to other passengers on board. This is the kind of story that makes Auletta's day? I'd say this speaks volumes as to the content of her character.
And speaking of "character," I'm not the kind of person who will just allow people to smear mine. I'm speaking up because I feel I've been wronged. Rest assured, I always will. I've worked very hard to get to where I am in life, personally and professionally, so I'm not about to let some slanderous faux-journalist get away with telling lies about me.
As you read above, Auletta even poked fun at the fact that I included Mahatma Gandhi's quote "Be the change you hope to see in the world" in my original TSA blog. The irony of course is that if anyone should follow this advice, it's her. Journalists have a responsibility to research and report the truth. Her callous mistakes are reckless and lazy; all she had to do was re-watch the video to see that she had, in fact, misquoted me. "Journalists" like her should be held accountable for not doing their jobs.
I urge every one of you to always stand up for yourselves and come from a place of empowerment when doing so. If you don't do it, who will?
Much Love Always,