Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson has accused a female TSA agent of ‘groping her’, ‘yelling at her’ and ‘publicly humiliating her’ while she was trying to transport breast milk home to her two-month-old baby son.
The 29-year-old mother-of-two opened up about the ‘unnecessary’ behavior in a series of Instagram Stories posts, revealing that the incident occurred while she was traveling back to her home in Nashville, Tennessee, from Texas – where she had spent the weekend reuniting with three of her 2008 Olympic teammates.
Sharing a tearful selfie with her followers, Johnson blasted the TSA checkpoint worker for her actions, writing: ‘To the lady at the TSA checkpoint having a bad day… I’m really sorry you have had a bad day but taking it out on me was unnecessary.
‘I can honestly say that was one of the worst experiences [I’ve had].’
Speaking out: Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson has accused a female TSA agent of ‘groping her’ and ‘yelling at her’ for trying to take breast milk through airport security on Sunday
Upset: The 29-year-old mother-of-two – who gave birth to second child Jett on July 19 – was traveling home to Nashville, Tennessee, from Texas when the incident occurred
‘Duty’: Posting about the upsetting exchange on her Instagram Stories, Johnson slammed the unnamed TSA agent for ‘publicly humiliating her’
In a second post, obtained by Yahoo, Johnson shared a photo of her breast milk supplies, including several clear plastic bags, as well as some red stickers with storks on them to identify the milk.
She then accused the unnamed TSA agent of ‘groping and yelling at her’ while asking her to ‘prove’ that she was actually transporting breast milk and not another liquid.
Claim to fame: Johnson spent the weekend in Austin, where she reunited with three of her teammates from the 2008 Olympics – where she won four medals, including a gold on the balance beam
‘We as mamas have a duty to our babies and a right in this world to carry breast milk through security,’ she wrote. ‘Having you public[ly] humiliate me in proving to you it was actually breast milk was against my rights.
‘To then be groped and yelled at in public was excessive. I know you were doing your job… but so was I.’
Johnson – who won four Olympic medals, including a gold on balance beam, at the 2008 Games in Beijing – did not share any other details about the exchange, which is though to have taken place at an airport in Texas.
According to the TSA, parents are permitted to transport breast milk in quantities greater that the legal 3.4oz liquid allowance in their carry-on bags, regardless of whether they are traveling with children.
These liquids have to be removed from carry-on bags at security checkpoints so they can ‘be screened separately from the rest of your belongings’ and are subject to inspection by TSA officers, who have the authority to refuse them.
The TSA website also states that anyone who does not wish for their breast milk to be X-rayed may be subject to ‘additional screening procedures’, including a ‘pat-down and screening of other carry-on property’.
Together again: Johnson attended the Austin City Limits music festival with fellow former gymnasts Nastia Liukin (left), Samantha Peszek (back center) and Alicia Sacramone (front)
Throwback: The four women won the team silver at the 2008 Games in Beijing alongside Chellsie Memmel and Bridget Sloan
Johnson did not say whether she had refused an X-ray scan for her breast milk, nor did she reveal whether she was eventually permitted to board her flight with the breast milk – which she was taking home to her baby son Jett, who was born on July 19.
A spokesperson for the TSA told DailyMail.com that it is ‘supportive of passengers traveling with breast milk’, stating: ‘I can tell you that breast milk is, of course, permitted.
‘We are supportive of passengers traveling with breast milk and other essential nutrition for their children and that is why we provide the details on our screening protocols on our website.’
The upsetting incident occurred at the end of a fun-filled weekend for the gymnast, who has two children – three-month-old Jett and 23-month-old daughter Drew – with husband Andrew East.
In what was her first trip without her baby son, Johnson spent the weekend in Austin, Texas, where she reunited with her 2008 Olympic teammates Nastia Liukin, Alicia Sacramone, and Samantha Peszek for the first time in ‘years’.
The foursome spent the weekend at the Austin City Limits music festival, where the likes of Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus, and Doja Cat performed.
Struggle: Johnson welcomed her son in July and revealed in August that she was struggling to breastfeed him, admitting that she was ‘so sad’ about the difficulties
Family: The gymnast also shares a daughter, 23-month-old Drew Hazel, with her husband Andrew East
But while all four former gymnasts appeared to have had an enjoyable weekend, Johnson revealed on her Instagram that the festival was not without its ups and downs.
Sharing an image of the group posing together, she wrote: ‘We missed the concert, lost a phone in a porta potty toilet, got sand in our purse, got a concussion, and had terrible coffee…. but somehow had the best time ever. Freaking love you girls!’
More than ten years has passed since the group competed together at the Olympic Games in Beijing – where they helped to propel the US to a silver medal win in the team event final, while Liukin and Johnson claimed gold and silver in the all-around.
Johnson’s Instagram posts about her TSA experience come just two months after she spoke out about her breastfeeding struggles with son Jett.
The mother-of-two – who ended up feeding her daughter Drew with pumped breast milk via a bottle after struggling to get her to nurse – explained that she had been left devastated by her son’s difficulties.
‘There’s always one feed a day where he seems super hungry and gives all the cues but screams bloody murder when I try to feed him,’ she wrote on Instagram.
‘It makes me so sad.’