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Nipple Rings Not a Security Threat - Passenger Tells TSA

Woman demands apology for harassment over nipple rings

I've been asked to remove my shoes, unbuckle my pants and endured more than my fair share of "pat-downs." But on February 24, 37-year-old Mandi Hamlin was told to take off her nipple rings or forget about boarding her scheduled flight from Lubbock to Dallas.

Piercing ProblemPiercing ProblemHuh? Did we miss something? Since when did piercings become dangerous?

According to AP News, after a female agent detected metal on Hamlin's chest, she told her to remove the piercings. Hamlin offered to show the female agent the rings in private but was told removal was her only option. She was escorted behind a curtain where she removed one without trouble. Crying, she explained she couldn't get the other one out.

She was handed a pair of pliers.

"I wouldn't wish this experience upon anyone," Mandi Hamlin said at a news conference. "My experience with TSA was a nightmare I had to endure. No one deserves to be treated this way."

Hamlin's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hamlin heard male TSA agents laughing while she struggled to remove the second ring. "After nipple rings are inserted, the skin can often heal around the piercing, and the rings can be extremely difficult and painful to remove," Allred said in a letter she sent to the director of the TSA's Office of Civil Rights and Liberties.

After being scanned again, Hamlin was allowed to board even though she was still wearing a belly button ring.

"The conduct of TSA was cruel and unnecessary," Allred wrote. "The last time that I checked a nipple was not a dangerous weapon."

Hamiln is considering legal action if the TSA doesn't apologize because she was publicly humiliated and has "undergone an enormous amount of physical pain to have the nipple rings reinserted" because of scar tissue, Allred said.

Hamlin said her piercings have never set off an airport metal detector.

Do you think the TSA should apologize?

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Police and TSA commonly abuse, mistreat and beat up passengers. My heart goes out to the girl with the nipple ring. They gave her pliers? That is sick! Its similar to the police beating up a woman at Reagan National Airport. http://youtube.com/watch?v=XPNmxZwhMag

We are living in a police state. This kind of stuff has got to stop.

I have a metal hip. Should I bring a pair of pliers in case they ask me to remove it when I'm travelling next?

I'm willing to bet TSA would not have made a male passenger remove a piercing from delicate parts of his anatomy.

Sure it sounds like they were a distraction if all the agents sat around giggling as she diffused her deadly weapons... I doubt they were watching other passengers very closely as long as they had the nipple-ring lady to provide their entertainment...

Other side of the story? Their (TSA) own policy states a pat down is the standard and that if a passenger refuses it, only then will something this drastic occur. To force this woman to painfully remove a piercing is just plain cruel.

it shouldn't have happened in the first place. i want to be safe when i fly but these stories are getting ridiculous. iv'e never heard of anyone being asked to remove a tongue ring - what about underwire bras???????

I agree TSA has a hard job, but come on - the woman offered to show her nipple rings. The metal detector would have picked up the amount of metal that the TSA officer should have been able to make a logical (and respectful) decison. Sounds like another security officer misusing power.....Good for that woman for demanding an apology.

Let's hear the other side of the story too. TSA has a very difficlt job trying to detect threats while respecting the dignity and privacy of the public. Piercings could be used as a distraction by a person wishing to conceal something else.

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