Avery Andon, the jet-setting owner of the contemporary art gallery ArtLife, claimed on Instagram this morning that his fiancée Nathalie Sörensen was “physically and verbally assaulted” on an American Airlines flight.
The incident allegedly occurred on Flight 2575, when a “large male flight attendant calling himself Thor” left Ms. Sörensen “shaking and crying.”
According to Andon, the couple was sound asleep on the way from Miami to Dallas when “Out of nowhere Nathalie was woken up being violently grabbed and shook by a large male flight attendant accusing her of ‘stealing’ a second blanket.”
Ms. Sörensen is rather slender, as can be seen in the many photographs Mr. Andon has posted to his Instagram account of the couple enjoying fabulous excursions. It is easy to imagine how the young lady might be chilly but harder to imagine how any sort of shaking might become necessary to remedy a rather prosaic problem.
“I can touch anyone on this plane I want”
According to Mr. Andon, the reason Ms. Sörensen indeed had two blankets is that he had given her his to use. “When the commotion woke me up and I confronted [Thor], he said verbatim, ‘I can touch anyone on this plane I want, I’m the Head Flight Attendant.’”
Andon said that Ms. Sörensen was left “shaking and in tears” and that “All the other passengers in First Class are equally in shock!” The Fine Art Globe has reached out to try to locate one of those passengers.
According to Mr. Andon, there were six police “waiting for Nathalie” at the Gate after Thor had accused her of harassment. Andon said the “Cops took one look at Nathalie and let us go.”
Mr. Andon told the Fine Art Globe, “It was indeed a horrific and stressful experience” but declined to elaborate beyond what he’d already shared. “I would love to share the intimate details but we have actually retained a lawyer who has asked for a few days to properly disseminate the information and speak with the witnesses before giving me the greenlight to properly discuss this publicly.”
The Fine Art Globe reached out to American Airlines. According to company spokesman Matt Miller, “There was nothing out of the ordinary on 2575.”
This is THOR
Some internet sleuthing and a comparison to the photo Mr. Andon snapped revealed that Thor is likely Thor Zurbriggen-Roy. Now in his late 50s, in January 2005, Mr. Zurbriggen-Roy wrote to FCC functionary Guy Benson about the plan to allow Cellular phones to be used in flight. Mr. Zurbriggen-Roy wrote an earnest note registering his disapproval of the plan and raising the alarm that it would make it easier for “terrorists to communicate with one another during a flight.” In his letter, Mr. Zurbriggen-Roy confirms that he is an American Airlines flight attendant and lists “ORD” – code for O’Hare Airport in Chicago – as his home base. Mr. Zurbriggen-Roy’s concerns, coming just three years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which included two American Airlines planes that killed all passengers and crew aboard – seem well-founded.
Ten years after that letter, in February 2015, Mr. Zurbriggen-Roy seems to have found himself in another “police at the airport” scrape, this time at O’Hare. He was arrested and had his mugshot taken. It was unclear at press time how that matter resolved and there is no reason to believe that Mr. Zurbriggen-Roy faced trial or discipline in that matter.
More recently, Mr. Zurbriggen-Roy was involved in another legal matter, this time as the first-named plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed in Illinois. The suit targets Twin Hill Acquisition, the manufacturer of the uniforms that American Airlines personnel are required to wear. According to Plaintiffs Zurbriggen and Catan, “These new uniforms are made of synthetic materials and so far have been found to contain at least the following chemicals: carbaryl, cadmium, captafol, chromium, copper, formaldehyde, monochlorophenols, nickel, nonylphenol, nonylphenolethoxylates, pentachlorophenol, tetrachlorophenols, and trichlorophenols.” The uniforms are allegedly causing “debilitating symptoms of headaches, fatigue, respiratory problems, vertigo and rashes as a result of working in and around persons who are wearing the new uniforms.” The amended lawsuit runs to nearly 130 pages and advanced when a judge ruled that the suit could go forward.
Mr. Andon’s gallery, ArtLife, is best known for its representation of street artists, including Andon’s brother, Alec Monopoly, the graffiti artist best known for street representations of the Parker Brothers/Hasbro Monopoly character “Mr.Monopoly.” According to its website, the gallery “offers exclusive curated works from a wide array of internationally renowned and emerging Artists, Photographers and Sculptors along with important secondary works from Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Banksy and more.”
This story has been updated with comment from Mr. Andon and from an American Airlines spokesman.