EXCLUSIVE: ‘I’m the grinch.’ Delta Karen told fellow passenger she was stealing his Christmas before punching and clawing him – but he says the fight in Row 37 didn’t hurt because she ‘hit like a girl’
‘Delta Karen’ Patty Cornwall yelled ‘I am the grinch and I am stealing Christmas’ after launching her infamous viral-video attack on a seated male passenger during a flight to Atlanta, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.
Victim Russell Miller, 69, said he was shocked when the former bit-part Baywatch actress punched him – but it didn’t hurt because ‘she hit like a girl’.
However, blood streamed down his left cheek after he said Cornwall, 51, then scratched his face while standing menacingly over him during the confrontation, now seen by millions on social media and in the news.
After getting off their flight, Marjorie Miller took a picture of her husband Russell’s injury sustained when ‘Delta Karen’ Patty Cornwall scratched him
Cornwall was a cheerleader for the then-Los Angeles Raiders in the 1990s. Her mugshot from a DUI arrest in November (pictured left and right)
Cornwall was a former small-time actress going by the name of Patty Breton and had a minor role in Baywatch (pictured) before becoming a Raiderette
Patty Cornwall and Russell Miller had gotten aggressive and swore at each other before she raised her fist and punched him
Miller told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview: ‘My wife Marjorie said to her, “Why are you doing this at Christmas time?” And the woman said, “I am the grinch and I am stealing Christmas”.’
The former pharmacy manager from Seminole, Florida, also shared an exclusive photo of his face injury taken by his 68-year-old spouse, who still works as a nurse.
Miller was sitting in seat 37c, as he and his wife headed for a family Christmas with son Tyler Gearhart and his wife Rebecca who live near Columbia, South Carolina, when the fight broke out on the Tampa-to-Atlanta leg of their journey last Thursday.
Russell Miller (pictured with wife Marjorie) said he wasn’t hurt by Cornwall’s attack as she ‘hit like a girl’
Marjorie Miller asked Cornwall: ‘Why are you doing this at Christmas?’ Cornwall replied: ‘I am the grinch and I am stealing Christmas’
Miller revealed every detail of the attack – and his pleasure at the irony that Cornwall received ‘a nice shiny silver pair of bracelets’ after at least ten police officers boarded the plane after landing and hauled her off.
Black passenger believes Cornwall’s Rosa Parks remark was aimed at her
Pregnant Delta passenger Clarissa Chenault was sitting directly across the aisle from the confrontation between Patty Cornwall and Russell Miller – and told DailyMail.com she believed Cornwall’s Rosa Parks comment might have been aimed at her because she is black.
Chenault, 34 – who was splashed with hot water when a male flight attendant was nudged during the altercation – was heading home to Cincinnati, Ohio, with boyfriend Marcus Waldon.
After the flight attendant asked Cornwall to head to the back of the plane, five-months pregnant Clarissa said: ‘The woman said “I’m not going to the back of the plane, I’m not Rosa Parks”.
‘And when she said that I thought, maybe she’s trying to indicate me, because I am a black woman.
‘I felt she threw that out there because the flight attendant had just served me some food. I could be wrong. But that’s how I took it. At that point my boyfriend tapped me and said, don’t get involved.’
As the situation escalated with Cornwall punching and spitting on Miller, Chenault said: ‘I wanted to intervene because it was difficult for me to watch. But I am pregnant and it was a very scary experience.’
Clarissa added Cornwall continued to shout randomly after being restrained at the rear of the aircraft following the bust-up.
She said: ‘She was yelling, “did you guys vote for the Florida governor (Ron DeSantis)? Who voted?” She was being belligerent the rest of the plane ride.’
Cornwall was then handed over to the FBI and charged. She spent the Christmas weekend in jail before being allowed out on $20,000 bond and permission to fly back to her home in Los Angeles.
Miller told DailyMail.com he has agreed to an FBI request to be a witness at a trial in Atlanta.
He recounted the traumatic incident, saying: ‘Cornwall had walked to the back of the plane to use the restroom.
‘When she came out, inflight service had started. The cart was going down the aisle giving out bottles of water and bags of pretzels. It was one seat in front of me.
‘The woman came out of the bathroom, touched the flight attendant on the shoulder and said, “can you help me find my seat?”
‘The flight attendant turned to her and said, “Ma’am, this is a short flight, it’s only an hour and 15 minutes, as soon as we get inflight service finished I’ll be happy to help you, can you please take a seat in the back of the plane”.
And the woman grabbed her shoulder and said, “No, you need to help me find my seat NOW.”
‘The flight attendant turned and said, “Ma’am, please, I don’t have the manifest with the list of passengers and your seat’s up in the front, if you sit in the back I will be happy to help you when we’re done”.
‘And the woman said, “you’re treating me like Rosa Parks”. She was getting angry with the flight attendant, so I said then, “Rosa Parks? Rosa Parks, number one, lady you’re not black. Number two, this is not Alabama. Number three, this is not the 1950s. And number four this is not a bus, it’s an airplane”.
That appeared to be a further trigger for Cornwall.
Miller continued: ‘She turned her anger to me and said, “Was I talking to you? Do you feel like you have the right to talk to me?”
‘I said “ma’am, the flight attendant said she would help you as soon as she can, please sit down”.
‘Then she just started going off on me. Then I said, “Karen, please go to the back of the plane and sit down”.’
Widely seen video of the incident shows it was then that flight attendants told Cornwall to put her face mask on and she turned to Miller, shouting ‘Mask up! Mask up!’ He had taken his mask down to eat the snack that flight attendants had just handed him.
Miller said that’s when it became physical. ‘She then punched me in my right cheek, she spit on my right cheek and she scratched my left cheek,’ he said.
Asked if it hurt, he told DailyMail.com: ‘She was a woman and she didn’t draw back very far so no, she hit like a girl and it didn’t hurt me. The only thing that hurt was the cut on my face.
‘I was surprised when she hit me, of course. I didn’t expect that. I thought it was just words and then she took it to be more than words.
‘So my wife had not seen my face, I turned my face back towards my wife. I had blood running down my face from the scratch.’
Cornwall was then restrained, Miller said. ‘Some guys from the back of the plane came and took her further back there.
‘Apparently the sky marshal went back and put cable ties on her. So I was told, because I wasn’t allowed to go back there.
Despite her demands, Cornwall was also reminded to pull her own mask up as it remained below her chin during most of the fight
Cornwall repeatedly demanded that flight crew members force the male passenger to put his mask up
Cornwall, 51, is seen at the Grand Canyon in an image posted to her social media
Cornwall (center) is pictured in an image from her social media with friends
‘The flight attendants came back and took care of my face, along with my wife.’
Miller said he was asked to leave the plane as normal with other passengers and wait on the sky bridge.
‘Then the police came on the plane, they had five cars down on the tarmac, and about 10 officers came on board,’ he said.
‘And they gave her for Christmas a nice shiny pair of silver bracelets.
‘They didn’t walk her up the sky bridge past me, they took her out a side door to the sky bridge and to the cars that were waiting. No, she didn’t look at me as she went off the plane.’
As they were driving to their son’s house after landing in Columbus, the FBI called and told Miller that Cornwall had been charged.
Miller was happy that police they gave Cornwall ‘a nice shiny pair of silver bracelets’ for Christmas. He says he will now give evidence against her in federal court
Cornwall has now been banned from flying following last week’s fracas
‘They asked, would I fly back to Atlanta for her trial? And I said, of course I will. She doesn’t need to be treating people like that on an airplane.
‘I will tell you the exchange got pretty heated and I called that person names and she called me some names. But mostly I called her Karen. Because she was acting exactly like a Karen.’
Miller told DailyMail.com exactly what he thinks of Cornwall – who was also a cheerleader for the Raiders NFL team and a realtor for high-end real estate in LA – plus other alleged Karens.
‘She is obviously an entitled person that feels like she is above everybody else because of her past successes,’ he said. ‘And she thought everybody else was beneath her.’
Miller, who now has a part-time job operating a drawbridge for boat traffic, continued: ‘I was familiar with the word Karen. I had seen other videos of Karens on airplanes and grocery stores. I was very happy to use what she is.
‘She’s a Karen – a white, over-privileged woman who can’t get along with anyone and tries to use what she believes is a position of authority and make other people feel bad.
‘And it’s sometimes racially motivated. That’s what got me involved, when she brought up Rosa Parks. I said, you don’t fit any of the things about Rosa Parks.’
DailyMail.com revealed exclusively on Monday that Cornwall’s stepfather took a restraining order out on her in July 2020, saying she had threatened to kill her mother and him.
Cornwall was charged with ‘assault on a federal level after the fight on Delta flight 2790 from Tampa to Atlanta
When arrested for DUI in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, in November, Cornwall ‘tried to fight’ sheriff’s deputies. ‘She was detained for her safety and ours,’ the report of her arrest said
Her sister-in-law Monica Cummings also took out a restraining order against her in December 2020. She said: Cornwall ‘has a history of violent outbursts and destructive erratic behavior.’
Cummings said Cornwall sent voice messages saying ‘You are dead’ and she shouldn’t underestimate her.
‘Respondent has an infatuation with my newborn son and two daughters,’ wrote Cummings. ‘She has bipolar tendencies and paranoia. She believes “we are with the government’ and I fear for my life and my children’s.’
She ticked boxes on the application saying Cornwall has drug and alcohol problems and is not taking medications for her mental health problems.
We also revealed she was booked for two DUIs within a year, the first in December 2020 in California and then again in November in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
A police report for the second incident, obtained by DailyMail.com, said she was trying to get her vehicle unstuck and when asked if she needed medical attention she ‘became belligerent’ and started to fight with cops.
‘She was detained for her safety and ours, a Walton County Sheriff’s Deputy wrote.
Miller said younger members of his family were stunned he even knew what a ‘Karen’ is. ‘My grandsons and nephews didn’t know that I knew the word Karen,’ he said.
‘They have all called me and said: ‘Way to go Pop-Pop. Using the word Karen, we didn’t know you knew that.’
Miller said the most annoying thing about the incident is that media reports initially reported he is 80-years-old. ‘I don’t know where that came from,’ he said. ‘I certainly hope I don’t look 80.’
Of the flight attendant, who was white, he said: ‘She was just trying to do her job. My personal opinion was I didn’t need this lady abusing the flight attendant.
‘She was an older woman, about 60 and she was just trying to do right. It bothered me that this lady started it on her so I had to say something.
‘Cornwall is on airlines’ permanent do not fly lists. She won’t attack anybody on an airplane again.’