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Friday, September 24, 1999 Published at 07:56 GMT 08:56 UK


UK

Ross tells US TV of 'hellish experience'

Diana Ross arrives in New York

Motown legend Diana Ross has told American television of her "total humiliation" at being arrested after allegedly assaulting a British airport security guard.


The BBC's Nick Bryant: "Diana Ross has been the focus of massive media attention"
The 55-year-old singer claims that a female security guard acted improperly during a hand search on Wednesday.

Ms Ross says that after she activated a metal detector at airport security, the guard "fondled" her and she "felt violated".

After complaining to British Airways, Ms Ross confronted the officer, touched her and said: "This is how it feels to be fondled." The assault complaint was then reported to police.


[ image: Diana Ross was led away by police on Wednesday morning]
Diana Ross was led away by police on Wednesday morning
"Regrettably I think I reacted to her," the Detroit-born star told a US chat show on Thursday.

"She was standing there very smug - I walked over to her and said, 'This is how it feels when someone rubs you up and down.' Maybe I shouldn't have."

The millionaire star, who has had 150 hit records over 35 years, broke down in tears at the police station, where she was held for five hours.

'Total humiliation'

She told American TV that it had been a "hellish experience".

"One of the women police officers put a rubber glove on her hand and I said, 'My God, what are you going to do?' I was so afraid. It was a day of total humiliation."

But Heathrow Airport has pledged its support for the security guard, saying she was "only carrying out her job".


[ image:  ]
In a statement, it said that the singer's version of events was "not consistent with eye-witness reports of the events which resulted in Miss Ross receiving a police caution".

The airport was adamant that the guard had simply been following standard procedure performed all over the UK.

"The security guard performed a routine search which does involve searching the front, back and sides of the body, and the inside and outside of legs - these are the places where any concealed items are likely to be carried."

It added that its safety procedures "ensure the safety of millions of people".

Ms Ross has said she has no plans to take action against the security guard.

Despite her brush with the law, she intends to return to the UK next month to promote a new CD.



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