YouTuber Adam Saleh has been removed from a New York-bound Delta flight in the latest of a string of incidents being described as discriminatory. Saleh was on board the plane at London’s Heathrow airport where his behavior – speaking in Arabic on the phone to his mother – allegedly caused other passengers to feel uncomfortable, resulting in his removal from the plane.
Saleh has posted a video of the incident online which shows the situation immediately after he was asked to disembark. In the video, Saleh expressed his disbelief at the situation.
“We spoke a different language on the plane, and now we’re getting kicked out. This is 2016. I cannot believe my eyes. I spoke a word, and you said you feel uncomfortable. Why are you guys doing that? Just because I spoke a different language.”
Saleh claims it was a conversation in Arabic with his mother on the phone that prompted a passenger in front of him to turn around asking him to “speak in English.” In the video, Saleh makes it clear he feels the incident is an issue of race as he repeatedly refers to the “white people” who feel uncomfortable. Several passengers – who all appear to be Caucasian – can be seen waving goodbye to the YouTuber as he is escorted off the plane, while a handful of others can be heard offering messages of support.
Thank you for all your support pic.twitter.com/ukQ4EGVQ6r— Adam Saleh (@omgAdamSaleh) December 22, 2016
For their part, Delta has released a statement claiming Saleh and his travel companion were removed from the flight for “disturbing behavior”.
“Two customers were removed from this flight and later rebooked after a disturbance in the cabin resulted in more than 20 customers expressing their discomfort. We’re conducting a full review to understand what transpired. We are taking allegations of discrimination very seriously; our culture requires treating others with respect.”
Considering Saleh has a long history of displaying questionable behavior, often on flights, it is understandable some have questioned the legitimacy of his claims. Saleh’s management team have responded to doubts by explaining the incident is “as real as it gets”.
Delta has come under fire several times this year for practices that have been labeled as discriminatory. Ohio couple Nazia and Faisal Ali were removed from a flight from Paris after one of the crew reported feeling uncomfortable about the fact that Nazia was wearing a headscarf and speaking on the phone while her husband was sweating.
Dr. Tamika Cross, a black physician from Texas, offered her services when a fellow passenger had a medical emergency on a Delta flight in October. According to Cross, a flight attendant dismissed her because of her race.
“Oh, no, sweetie. Put your hand down. We are looking for actual physicians or nurses. We don’t have time to talk to you.”
Most recently Delta has found itself in the firing line after disturbing footage surfaced last week of a black woman being dragged off a plane in Detroit. While the airline is yet to release a statement on the incident, it is believed the woman was removed for failing to show her ticket to gate staff as well as displaying a “huge attitude.” Regardless, Delta found themselves struggling to justify the excessive force used in removing the passenger.
In contrast, many are questioning the actions of the airline for failing to remove a white Donald Trump supporter from a flight in November after the man went on a rant in the aisle, preaching support for the president-elect and calling other passengers “Hilary b*tches.”
Delta has released statements following the incidents in question, claiming they “condemn discrimination in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or gender” and it appears the airline is attempting to make amends.
Nazia and Faisal Ali had the cost of their tickets refunded while the airline promised they would continue to investigate. The incident with Dr. Cross has prompted Delta to change their policy; as of December 1 medical professionals will no longer be asked to show credentials before assisting in emergency situations.
Aside from a statement from the airline, there is no news of an outcome for Saleh. The YouTuber has since launched the hashtag #BoycottDelta which is gaining traction on social media.
[Featured Image by APTOPIX/AP Images]