Ralph Lauren’s niece fined €2,000 for air rage
Jennifer Lauren called a cabin crew member ‘a fat, ugly, unhappy, blonde b***h’
Niece of fashion icon Ralph Lauren, Jennifer Lauren. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
A niece of fashion icon and billionaire Ralph Lauren was fined €2,000 over an air rage incident on board a transatlantic flight on Monday.
Judge Patrick Durcan ordered Jenny Lauren to pay the fine after hearing that the 41- year old had launched a tirade of abuse against cabin crew on board the Delta Airlines flight and pushed one member of staff against the wall of the aircraft. The court heard Ms Lauren had mixed alcohol and prescription medication.
Insp Tom Kennedy told Ennis District Court that Ms Lauren called one member of cabin crew, Jennifer Simpson, “a fat, ugly, unhappy, blond bitch” and told another crew member, Constance Topping, that she was “a f***ing ugly, blond bitch”.
The inspector said that Ms Lauren pushed Ms Topping against the wall of the aircraft.
Judge Durcan said that the events brought about by Ms Lauren were “extremely serious and extremely frightening for crew and passengers on board”.
The judge said the “very personalised insults directed at the air hostesses were nothing short of reprehensible”. The situation placed the other 208 people on board “in a very frightening situation where aircrew staff were grossly insulted”.
Ms Lauren pleaded guilty to causing a breach of the peace on board the Barcelona-New York flight and to being intoxicated on the flight on January 6th. A third, related air rage charge was withdrawn by the State in court yesterday.
The flight was diverted to Shannon on Monday. After spending a night in the cells at Shannon Garda station, Ms Lauren was brought before a court on Tuesday sitting in a pub in Ballina, next to Killaloe, where she secured bail before the case was adjourned to yesterday’s sitting of Ennis District Court.
Outlining the case against Ms Lauren, Insp Kennedy told the court she “was certainly loud, foul-mouthed, abusive and threatening and there was no reasoning with her on the aircraft”.
Insp Kennedy told the court that the cost of the diversion to Delta totalled more than $43,000 (€31,650).
He said that Ms Lauren initially came to the crew’s notice when she sought assistance with her reclining seat.
Insp Kennedy said Ms Lauren verbally abused Ms Topping when she went to help. Ms Lauren told her “get the f**k out of my face”.
Insp Kennedy said that after Ms Lauren abused Ms Topping while in her seat, Ms Topping went to brief her supervisor further up in the aircraft.
The inspector said: “Ms Topping looked back and saw Ms Lauren coming up the aisle to her at speed. She said Ms Lauren was ranting and raving, shouting incoherently and told Ms Topping that she was going to go ballistic.”
Insp Kennedy said that a captain who was on a rest break in the aircraft went to talk to Ms Lauren and was told by Ms Lauren: “You’re an asshole.”
He said Ms Lauren’s behaviour continued and the captain of the aircraft felt he had no choice but to divert to Shannon, 640km (400 miles) away.
Ms Lauren had no previous convictions, he added.
Sharon Curley, solicitor for Ms Lauren, said that the defendant was “a 41-year-old single woman from New York with an unblemished record. She is a graduate of the University of Columbia where she achieved a degree in fine arts.” She subsequently went on to set her own small business in jewellery design.
Ms Curley said Ms Lauren was travelling back to America from a short holiday with a friend when this occurred.
She said her client had three drinks mixed with prescription medicine, adding: “That is not an excuse, but it may go someway to explain the unprecedented behaviour by Ms Lauren. My client has a difficult medical past.”
She said Ms Lauren suffers from depression, has overcome anorexia and is under the care of a consultant psychiatrist, and suffers from bi-polar disorder and generalised anxiety disorder.
“My client is extremely embarrassed and extremely upset at the inconvenience and disruption that she has caused to everyone concerned,” she added.
Ms Lauren was adamant at the outset that she apologise to everyone involved.
Ms Curley said: “When she landed at Shannon Airport, she thought that she landed in Spain and that is why she was saying to the gardaí, ‘can you say that in English?’”
Judge Durcan said he accepted Ms Lauren has impeccable character and what occurred was totally out of character.