Oprah Lands in Legal Trouble After Firing Flight Attendant

Oprah magazine cover
Oprah on the June 2008 cover of her magazine O. The talk queen is being sued by a former employee for wrongful-termination and defamation. Photo: Hammock Inc.

A flight attendant is taking Oprah Winfrey to court over what she claim was an unfair firing.

Corrine Gehrls, who was employed as a flight attendant on Winfrey’s private jet, was canned after allegations that she and the plane’s pilot, Terry Pansing, had engaged in sexual intercourse during a flight.

But in a lawsuit for wrongful-termination and defamation filed in Chicago on Friday (Oct. 9) Gehrls claims the alleged mile-high tryst was a lie concocted by two fellow fight attendants, Myron Gooch and Kirby Bumpus, who happens to be the daughter of Winfrey’s friend, Gale King.

Gehrls’ suit states that Gooch and Bumpus “falsely told Winfrey and [Oprah’s production company] Harpo that . . . Pansing and Gehrls had been observed having inappropriate intimate contact outside the cockpit of the plane.”

Gehrls claims in court paper that Gooch was the one engaging in inappropriate conduct and insubordination, alleging that Gooch threatened to call in sick if he didn’t get a flight schedule that let him care for his cats and demanded better accommodations than the rest of the flight crew. It gets more interesting from there, Gehrls also states the Gooch hopped into bed with King during a 2008 flight from the Canary Islands to Chicago, “Winfrey knew of, but did nothing about, this highly intimate and unprofessional flight conduct by Gooch.”

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