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Saturday
Jun252011

AOL & Huffington Post Need To Hire Better Editors

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 PM

Susie 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'll let Miller answer that himself:

“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:

  1. (n.) High-sounding language, without importance or dignity of thought; boisterous, empty declamation; bombast; as, the rant of fanatics.
  2. (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,

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Reader Comments (7)

Well said! Journalism is in a sad stare, and this Auletta person is a perfect example of that. Good for you for sticking up for yourself!

June 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterI Love Susie

Your response is fantastic! One would expect a beauty pageant winner to have a rudimentary understanding of liberty. And here, you're quoting Thomas Jefferson, Mahatma Gandhi and exposing the superficialities of faux journalists. Bravo! I am becoming increasingly impressed and inspired by you.

Most people who are remotely aware of their own consciousness know that the HuffPo is a propaganda rag. Even the people who comment are paid trolls.

June 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

You just bashed the basher. Miss Positivity...you need stay true and practice what you preach, sister. One less fan today.

@This makes you better how? how do you not see what Susie is saying!? You may be some nobody, but when your name is in the news and the media can smear you with impunity, it's a serious problem. All she's doing is sticking up for herself in a situation where a HuffPo editor lied to get more readers. And since most people don't read the rest of the article or watch the video, they take the headline as gospel. So now there are a whole bunch of people out there who think Susie's a stereotypical, dumbass pageant girl, when in fact she's nothing like that...and all because this Kate Auletta has an agenda that trumps our right not to be slandered. But you're of course okay with it because you're certainly not at risk, sitting there in your no-risk world. What a loser. Get a clue.

July 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterI love it, Susie!

aw your interview on Fox and would like to thank you for your efforts to rein in TSA. There are many of us who are actively striving to force this agency to stop abusing, molesting and robbing passengers under the guise of airport security.

We have complied a list at Travel Underground and invited you to visit this site, join the discussion and make use of the resources there in your fight to restore sanity to airport security.

The lists can be found at
http://www.travelunderground.org/index.php?threads/master-lists-of-tsa-abuses-crimes.317/

July 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill Fisher

Susie,

I support your position completely, and thank you for your vocal and earnest advocacy.
One thing I would like you to consider in this debate is the meaning of freedom itself.
I feel that those of us who are against the mission of the TSA should argue our
point as if the scanners were benign. While the radiation is probably dangerous,
and I myself would not subject myself to one for that reason alone, we need to argue
against them on the assumption that they are NOT dangerous. Why? Because
one day they will come up with a newer, better technology that the experts will
approve, but we will still be left with our rights and privacy and dignity violated.
Further, what about the snowball effect? Where do these fascistic policies end?
Why stop at airports, why not major sports and entertainment events...what about
malls and large shopping centers....what about busy streets....any place people
congregate...What if the "underwear bomber" had taken a bus? Should we start
scanning every vehicle, plane, train, cars....This may sound alarmist, but isn't this the
way things happen? The truth is that, as you eloquently point out, we are assumed
guilty until proven innocent. But that is not how a free society is supposed to
operate. We cannot allow fear to dictate our lives; therefore, we cannot allow
a tiny, very tiny portion of the population (the putative terrorist) dictate our
lifestyle and pervert the meaning of freedom. Aren't there infinite ways to
cause mayhem? Why are we safe at all? We need to remind people that peace
is not created by force but by trust and good will. The amount of peace in
the world is a reflection of the minds of the people in it. Force (ie, police state
tactics) gives an illusion of safety and has the real effect of cowing the people
and making them submissive to authority. People who support the TSA ought
to be ashamed of themselves for their cowardice and lack of political consciousness.
They are opening the door to a nightmare world of the Nanny State and Big Brother.
We need to emphasize to people that life and living in the world as a responsible
citizen is about taking responsibility for yourself....and yes, that means when you
get on a plane, accepting that it might get hit by a bolt of lightening, the engine
might fall off, or a bomb might explode. Causing such major disruptions and
treating people like criminals does nothing to change this fact. I say to them, Wake
up and start standing up for yourselves, and stop letting fear create your world.

Keep up the good work!

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDon

In the JWA airport I am told, yes this is heresay because you won't catch me near a commercial airport, that people are guided into a large box-like place where there is a figure of a blue man in the universal surrender position with hands up painted on a background. The individual is expected to mimic the blue figure putting the hands up, looking forward, feet in the footprints on the floor. How sad is this? If bomb-sniffing dogs do a better job of detecting bombs why are air travelers subjected to this indignity. No "war on terror" ever justifies the systematic procedure of robbing travelers of their dignity if they choose to travel by plane. People need to say "I opt out" I am told. If they are then taken to a place where they are to be given a pat down, say "Touch my junk and I'll have you arrested." Remember overpowerful governments are not satisfied with controlling what happens to you from the skin out. Check repeat examples in history.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Lee Grau

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