YouTube celebrity Adam Saleh on Wednesday claimed that he and a companion were kicked off a Delta Air Lines flight from London to New York for speaking in Arabic. In a video posted to his Facebook page from the aircraft, Saleh accused the carrier of being “racist” and said he and Slim Albaher had been asked to “step outside” because of it.
“I spoke a word, a different language, and you said you feel uncomfortable?” Saleh asked in the video. “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe my eyes.” He also asked why he and Albaher were being kicked out, while the people who complained against him were not. “Six white people against us bearded men? How about you kick them out. I feel uncomfortable.”
While the video was initially met with scepticism because Saleh is a video prankster, other passengers on the flight corroborated his story, The New York Times reported. Saleh also refuted allegations that the clip was an elaborated stunt. “The only thing I can say is that I would never film a phone video,” he said. “That’s when it’s really serious, and I must film.”
Delta Air Lines, however, refuted the YouTube celebrity’s claims and said Saleh and Albaher had “sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behaviour, including shouting”. “This type of conduct is not welcome on any Delta flight,” the statement said. “What is paramount to Delta is the safety and comfort of our passengers and employees. It is clear these individuals had sought to violate that priority.”
Later, a spokesperson for London’s Metropolitan Police said that while the two were removed from the aircraft and placed on a separate one, they “didn’t do anything lawfully wrong”. The spokesperson added that the two were not arrested by authorities.