Corrie star on airport discrimination after being called for body search

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Photo credit: Eamonn M. McCormack - Getty Images
Photo credit: Eamonn M. McCormack - Getty Images

Former Coronation Street star Melissa Johns has opened up about having to endure a full body search at an airport, after the scanner failed to recognise her body.

The actress, who played Imogen Pascoe in the ITV soap from 2017 to 2019, tweeted about her experience at Manchester Airport, highlighting the discrimination that can be perpetuated by automated machines.

"Had to have a full body search at Manchester Airport," she wrote. "Machine couldn't detect my body as I don't have 4 full limbs. It was thrown by my lack of arms so went off on one. Discriminated against by a robot… What a time to be alive."

She added: "Manchester airport staff are the best."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

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Johns has long been a disability activist, primarily advocating for better representation of disabilities in the media.

Explaining the incident in more detail, she said: "The lights were flashing red and they said you will have to do a full body search. Even at this point I didn't realise. I said, 'Is it my earrings or my necklace?'

"She [an airport security officer] was so polite. She said, 'I think it doesn't quite pick up your body.'"

"Some people will say it's PC gone mad, it's just a machine let it do its job," the former Celebrity MasterChef contestant continued, speaking to the Manchester Evening News. "And I agree the most important thing in an airport is security.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

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"But I would also like to live in a world where when we are planning these machines, voices with different lived experiences are involved."

She later tweeted out her gratitude to the staff at Manchester Airport "for helping me when I dropped my bags and couldn't manage, treating me with such kindness when the machine didn't believe I was human."

By telling her story, she said she wanted "to highlight the chance that we have to come up with more accessible solutions".

Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7.30pm on ITV.

Read more Coronation Street spoilers on our dedicated homepage.

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