Disband Red Arrows, say victims of ‘constant sex pestering’ after concerns are raised over squadron
Disband Red Arrows, say victims of ‘constant sex pestering’ after more than 40 personnel raise serious misconduct issues about the RAF squadron’s alleged toxic culture
- They have called for the Red Arrows to be grounded due to the toxic culture
- The women have called on the RAF’s most senior officer to publicly apologise
- One woman called The Red Arrows a ‘boys’ club’ with ‘self-entitled male pilots’
Victims of the Red Arrows sex scandal have called for the disgraced squadron to be disbanded.
In exclusive interviews with the Daily Mail, the women – among more than 40 personnel to raise serious misconduct issues – said the jets should be grounded due to the Red Arrows’ toxic culture.
They also want the RAF’s most senior officer, Chief of the Air Staff Sir Mike Wigston, to publicly apologise for their horrific experiences, which included sexual assault, sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation over several years.
Victims of the Red Arrows sex scandal have called for the disgraced squadron to be disbanded. The Red Arrows are pictured flying over Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in May 2022
Victims of the Red Arrows sex scandal have called for the jets to be grounded due to the toxic culture
Their demands follow the dismissal of Flight Lieutenant Damon Green earlier this week, the first Red Arrows pilot sacked by the RAF as part of the biggest scandal in the team’s 60-year history.
He was accused of sexually assaulting two colleagues and physically attacking another. However, he was never charged and was subsequently promoted to a higher position in the aerobatics team.
Flight Lieutenant Green was allowed to continue flying with the Red Arrows until 2021, when he was permitted to leave the team for ‘personal reasons’ and was quietly moved to another squadron.
The victims told how this initial resignation caused them further suffering, and that he should have been sacked long before that. Starting with a report in the Mail in May, a disturbing picture of misconduct and poor discipline inside the world famous squadron has emerged. A series of articles have revealed how Red Arrows personnel, in particular females of low rank or those lacking experience, were targeted by senior male colleagues.
According to women who broke their silence with the Mail, the failure to charge Flight Lieutenant Green and other male officers accused of similar offences was part of a strategy by senior officers to suppress their claims.
Flight Lieutenant Damon Green (pictured) was sacked by the RAF this week. He was accused of sexually assaulting two colleagues and physically attacking another
They are adamant top brass prioritised preserving the Red Arrows’ glowing reputation over ensuring those accused faced justice. One of the women said: ‘The toxic culture needs rooting out because when we complained nothing was done. The assaults, the bullying, the drunken misconduct and the threats they’d end our careers if we spoke out, were all hushed-up.
‘So I think they should stand down the Red Arrows. They need a complete clear out, an entire reorganisation and new leadership.’
She added: ‘That is the only way to tackle it. It would be within the remit of Sir Mike Wigston to take this step.
‘He has taken too long to remedy the situation and to support the victims.
‘I also think he was let down by the senior officers around him who only pushed positive messages up the chain of command.’
Another woman said: ‘I would agree they should cease flying. The Red Arrows is a sort of boys’ club, with very self-entitled male pilots.
‘Allegations against them are always dealt with in-house. They know wearing a red suit [as a Red Arrows pilot] will save them. There’s got to be a restructuring of the management and a new leadership team. Harassment by men on the squadron, not just pilots but also in other roles, became almost routine.
‘They’ll text you asking if you’ll sleep with them but plead with you to keep it secret. Just constant pestering like that. It’s like the women were just there for their amusement.’
One of the women said: ‘I think they should stand down the Red Arrows. They need a complete clear out, an entire reorganisation and new leadership’
One woman called The Red Arrows a ‘boys’ club’ with ‘self-entitled male pilots’. The squadron are pictured flying over Nelsons Column in Trafalgar Square in June 2020
Flight Lieutenant Green, from Sheffield, joined the Red Arrows in 2018. He had previously flown extensively over the Middle East as part of Operation Shader – the UK’s contribution to the international military coalition against Isis. Alleged victims are also writing an open letter to Sir Mike Wigston. It reads: ‘There should be a public apology on behalf of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team. We also call on you to put victims first by keeping your promises.
‘The RAF must act quickly and prove this behaviour is unacceptable. People’s lives have been destroyed by toxic behaviour and it is continuing today. The basic problem is a failure in command.’
An RAF spokesman said: ‘We have a zero tolerance approach to unacceptable behaviour. Following allegations of such behaviour within the Red Arrows, we commissioned a thorough and far-reaching investigation to establish the facts, and have taken appropriate actions where wrongdoing has been proven.’