A YouTube star who made a video claiming he was kicked off of a Delta Air Lines flight for speaking Arabic and who asked others to boycott the carrier has come under fire after the airline said there was more to the story — and a previous prank he said he pulled on an airline was revealed as a hoax, likely to gain attention.
According to the U.K. Express, Adam Saleh, a who has 1.6 million subscribers on YouTube, made a video claiming he was kicked off of a Delta flight from London to New York because he spoke Arabic to his mother.
“I cannot believe my eyes,” Saleh said in a video, yelling at the passengers. “I spoke a word and you said you feel uncomfortable. Why are you guys doing that? Just because I spoke a different language.”
He also said that the complaints came from “six white people against bearded men.”
“We spoke a different language on the plane and now we’re getting kicked out. This is 2016,” he continued. “Delta Air Lines are kicking us out because we spoke a different language. You guys are racist.”
He later told CBS he had been speaking to his mother on the phone in Arabic because that’s the only language she speaks.
His experience has now inspired the hashtag #BoycottDelta.
You can watch the video here:
Saleh’s story made worldwide news, but some discrepancies quickly began to make themselves apparent. Reporters began to focus on another video in which he seemed to have pretended to travel by suitcase in the cargo hold of a different airline in Australia — ostensibly to make their security look bad, but also for attention.
In the video, posted last week, Saleh videotaped himself allegedly stowed away in a suitcase on a TigerAir flight from Melbourne to Sydney. While the video attracted the attention of 150,000 viewers in 24 hours, it also attracted the attention of a very nonplussed TigerAir.
“There are a few inconsistencies in your production that don’t line up with reality,” TigerAir told Saleh in an open letter.
“It gets pretty cold at 36,000 feet without any heating. Had you been in the baggage hold, by the time you arrived in Sydney you would have been a Popsicle.” The airline also dryly noted that it had video of Saleh “boarding the aircraft using his legs.”
Delta also issued a statement claiming that the circumstances of his ejection from the flight were different from the story he gave.
“Upon landing, the crew was debriefed and multiple passenger statements collected,” a statement from the airline read. “Based on the information collected to date, it appears the customers who were removed sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting.”
“This type of conduct is not welcome on any Delta flight. While one, according to media reports, is a known prankster who was video recorded and encouraged by his traveling companion, what is paramount to Delta is the safety and comfort of our passengers and employees,” the statement added. “It is clear these individuals sought to violate that priority.”
It is worth pointing out, too, that Delta Air Lines flies to Dubai and maintains a partnership with Lebanon’s Middle Eastern Airlines and Saudi Arabia’s Saudia. One of their largest hubs is also in Detroit, which is the epicenter of the Muslim diaspora in the United States.
In other words, it’s rather difficult to believe that Delta Air Lines’ flight attendants and crew would be so uneducated and hidebound as to kick someone off a plane for merely speaking Arabic. Meanwhile, I find it relatively plausible that someone who claimed he put himself in a suitcase and traveled from Melbourne and Sydney also got himself kicked off of a flight and then tried to generate attention by claiming it was Islamophobia.
Thanks for the effort, though.
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