Heathrow apologises for ordering Mary Beard to strip to underwear

30 October 2019, 17:33

Heathrow airport has apologised to Mary Beard
Heathrow airport has apologised to Mary Beard. Picture: PA

By Sylvia DeLuca

Heathrow airport says it's "very sorry" after Mary Beard was asked to strip down to "my scrappy undies" at security in front of other passengers.

Heathrow airport has apologised after the broadcaster and Professor of Classics at Cambridge University was told to remove her tunic at security, which staff appeared to mistake for a jacket.

Mary Beard tweeted: "I know rules are rules (and we all depend on airport security) but was a bit surprised to be told to take off what I think is a 'tunic' (they thought was a 'jacket') at Heathrow security this morning, down to my scrappy undies.

"Much to curiosity/embarrassment of other passengers!"

Heathrow airport responded on Twitter: "Good morning Mary, we are very sorry to hear this and apologise for the experience you have had. Could you please DM us with further details regarding your experience with our Security so that we can look into the matter? Thank you."

Mary Beard responded that she did not want staff to get into any trouble, but that some “general consciousness-raising” would be an appropriate measure to take.

She replied: "That's OK. I am tough, and I have no desire to see the staff concerned told off (so I am carefully not telling you which terminal). But maybe some general consciousness raising on this one would be a jolly good idea!"

Mary Beard's comments were met with support by many users on social media.

One tweeted: "Perhaps if we start encouraging some common sense thinking and non-despotic management, then terrible instances like these wouldn’t happen!"

Another wrote: "I have had similar things happen. Some security guards don’t really understand women’s clothing . People should always be given the option of going through the scanner without being made to feel they are being unreasonable."

One user said: "They surely have to provide some privacy and dignity if they insist on getting you down to your undies- not right."

Dame Mary Beard is the Classics editor of The Times Literary Supplement and has written and presented documentaries including Meet The Romans, Civilisations and Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit.