A fashion model and beauty pageant finalist who was apparently drunk when she slapped a flight attendant and subjected passengers to obscenities and racial slurs on a January flight from Australia to Los Angeles is facing a June 24 sentencing date.
Adau Akui Mornyang, 25, was found guilty Thursday in Los Angeles federal court of interference with a flight attendant and assault. She was acquitted of a third federal charge of assaulting an air marshal.
The trouble started Jan. 21 about nine hours into the 15-hour flight from Melbourne when passengers approached United Airlines crew member Romeo Gutierrez to complain that Mornyang was “yelling obscenities and racial slurs and flailing her arms,” according to court documents.
When Gutierrez approached, the Australia-based South Sudan-born model began to shout and slapped him across the face. When the abuse continued, Gutierrez tried to hold her down until federal air marshals could assist, court papers show.
Air marshals stayed with Mornyang at the rear galley of the plane through the remainder of the flight.
An affidavit in the case stated that Mornyang responded that she was a “strong black woman” and that the crew was “singling her out” for abuse. At one point, she removed her socks and threw them at nearby passengers, prosecutors said.
Crew members who served her two glasses of wine before the trouble started noticed an empty wine bottle at her seat, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Mornyang migrated to Australia when she was 10 as a refugee from war-torn South Sudan. A 2017 Miss World Australia finalist, she received international attention two years ago when she streamed an hour-long Facebook Live video about being raped. She is also known as an advocate against rape victim-blaming culture, particularly in South Sudanese communities.