A New York City actor and TikTok star who spreads awareness about stuttering has claimed he was “detained” by a TSA agent before a flight to Florida because of his speech impediment.
Marc Winski, who boasts 382,000 followers on TikTok, posted a short clip on the platform about how the agent pulled him aside for an additional screening when he stuttered.
“I got detained at the airport because of stuttering,” he captioned his video, which has garnered about 200,000 views and almost 34,000 likes since he posted it April 30.
“I was walking through the airport, that’s usual. I was going through TSA. The gate person said, ‘Where you headed?’ I said, ‘I’m going to Florida.’ He said, ‘Are you sure about that? You seem kinda nervous.’ I said, ‘No, I just stutter sometimes,’” Winski says.
“He said, ‘I need to take you this way for an extra pat-down.’ Is that discrimination? I’m not sure but it didn’t make my day. Just another day in the life,” the smiling man adds.
Winski told The Post in an email Friday: “There are still so many misconceptions about stuttering and I would like more education, awareness, and representation about this topic. It’s OK to stutter and every voice matters.”
Many users expressed support for Winski and described the incident as discriminatory.
“Definitely discrimination. I have faced prejudice all my life and I let it run my life because of my speech. Keep spreading awareness,” one wrote.
“Yes it is! You have a speech condition that’s completely valid and if they singled you out because of it,” another said.
“Ya know. Stuttering just keeps you on screen longer so we can see your beautiful smile. So take your time. We like your smile. Ignor [sic] the jerks,” a third wrote.
One person said he suffered from a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia, saying he sometimes shakes “like I’m in an earthquake, and I’m very worried a TSA agent will think I’m strung out on something.”
Winski replied to him: “If we all are just patient.”
Another TikTok viewer wrote that his wife speaks for him at airports and border crossings.
Winski responded by saying “it’s important to keep showing stuttering. That agent now knows after I talked to them!”
TSA press secretary R. Carter Langston told The Post that the agency has seen the video and has requested additional information about the incident.
“There have been no complaints filed with TSA regarding this incident, and we do not know what airport or when this was alleged to have occurred,” Langston wrote in an email.
“When more information is available or a complaint is filed, TSA headquarters will launch a review of the incident in question and will not comment on this specific event until the review is completed,” the rep wrote.
“Depending on the situation, the internal review may lead to additional training or changes to screening processes,” Langston continued.
“We take all traveler allegations about our security checkpoint screening processes seriously and are committed to ensuring every traveler is treated respectfully and courteously,” he added.
Langston also noted that travelers who are identified for an additional search may request a private screening and that those who anticipate needing additional screening may call TSA to receive assistance going through the security checkpoint.
“While at the checkpoint, those travelers who need assistance or have concerns or questions, may request to speak with a supervisor or ask for a passenger support specialist,” he explained.
About 3 million people in the US stutter, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Winski’s acting credits include national performances in “Grease,” “West Side Story” and “Hairspray.”