Delta Airlines is facing fierce scrutiny on social media after YouTube star Adam Saleh claimed he and his friend were escorted off a New York-bound flight after having a phone conversation with his mother in Arabic.
Though some people aren’t so sure Saleh is telling the truth.
The video, shared to his 桑拿会所 account @omgAdamSaleh with over 262,000 followers, shows Saleh and his friend being asked to leave the aircraft. Saleh claims they were asked to leave after several passengers said they felt “uncomfortable” hearing him speak Arabic.
“We’re getting kicked out because we spoke a different language,” he says in the video. “This is 2016!”
WATCH: YouTube star Adam Saleh tweeted a video on Wednesday, December 21, alleging that he and a friend were removed from a Delta Airlines flight for speaking Arabic.
In the video, several passengers are seen coming to the defense of Saleh and his friend – one of which can be heard shouting, “This is crazy.” However, when the camera pans to the back of the plane, several passengers can be seen waving and shouting “goodbye” at the two men.
We are still stuck at the airport and Delta has not given us any info. They keep telling us to wait. Please spread the word #BoycottDelta
— Adam Saleh (@omgAdamSaleh) December 21, 2016
Global News has not confirmed the circumstances which led to Saleh being removed from the plane but in a statement Wednesday evening, Delta said that “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. It is clear these individuals sought to violate that priority,” the statement read.
READ MORE: Muslim woman detained for ‘suspicious behaviour’ while reading book about Syria during flight
Earlier Wednesday, Delta confirmed the two men were removed 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,” read the statement.
Global News attempted to contact Saleh several times before he announced he boarded another flight; however, our requests to interview the YouTuber were not immediately returned.
In the hours that followed Saleh’s initial tweet, #BoycottDelta began trending in North America as hundreds reacted with outrage over Saleh’s claims.
#BoycottDelta We won’t tolerate islamophobia and racism.Getting kicked off a plane for speaking Arabic to his mother is ridiculous.
— nada (@Nadaatoturnt) December 21, 2016
Me thinking how someone talking in another language can cause someone “discomfort” #BoycottDelta 🤔🤔 pic.twitter长沙桑拿/TIRnbjnuwh
— Suri ✨ (@TeamSuperMumbai) December 21, 2016
So they got kicked out bc they spoke their native language with their mother??? I’d get up & leave the plane w/ them tbh #BoycottDelta
— jo (@lightweightly) December 21, 2016
I’ve never even been on a @delta airline & I’m ready to sue for emotional distress just by watching that video. Unacceptable. #BoycottDelta
— Rihsus. (@iDreamRihanna) December 21, 2016
But not everyone online is buying Saleh’s story.
Several 桑拿会所 users have raised doubts about the authenticity of the YouTuber’s claims, noting that he has made several viral videos pranking airlines in the past. In fact, on Tuesday Saleh uploaded a video titled “I sent myself to another county,” in which he claimed to sneak himself on to a flight by hiding in a suitcase. The video was later debunked by the airline, who tweeted it had footage of Saleh boarding the plane.
@omgAdamSaleh Nice try Adam, but definitely a few inconsistencies with this vid, namely the fact we have footage of you boarding the plane!
— Tigerair Australia (@TigerairAU) December 14, 2016
In the video he also claims he has been subject to several anti-Muslim remarks on social media.
In a statement to Global News, a spokesperson from Saleh’s management team denied claims the incident was part of a prank.
“I can assure you that this was not a prank and Adam was heading home to see his family after completing the first half of his tour,” said the spokesperson. “Due to racism and discrimination amongst other passengers on the flight, the captain decided that he had to leave the plane.”
In November 2015, a Philadelphia man was briefly stopped from boarding a flight from Chicago after another passenger said he heard him speaking Arabic and felt “uncomfortable.” In June 2015, United Airlines garnered a lot of negative publicity after a Muslim woman was denied an unopened can of Diet Coke because it could “be used as a weapon,” a flight attended allegedly explained.
READ MORE: Arabic-speaking man briefly stopped from boarding plane after passenger complaint
This isn’t the first controversy Delta has faced either. In August, a Muslim couple alleged the were kicked off of a Delta flight from Paris after a flight attendant said she felt uncomfortable with the way they looked.
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