Delta airlines is disputing YouTube star Adam Saleh’s claim that he was removed from a flight because he was speaking Arabic.
Instead, the airline says, Saleh and his friend were removed after disrupting passengers with “provocative behaviour.”
READ MORE: Delta Airlines under fire after YouTube star Adam Saleh allegedly kicked off flight for speaking Arabic
Saleh, an Arab-American social media personality, maintains he was removed from the flight after passengers overheard him speaking Arabic to his mother on the phone.
“Based on the information collected to date, it appears the customers who were removed sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting,” read a statement issued by Delta Wednesday afternoon.
“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.”
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.
On Wednesday, Saleh shared a video with his 262,000 桑拿会所 followers, showing he and his friend being asked to leave the aircraft. Saleh claimed they were asked to leave after several passengers said they felt “uncomfortable” hearing him speak Arabic.
That video quickly went viral and has since been shared over 780,000 times.
Saleh’s post sparked the hashtag #BoycottDelta, which began trending in North America on 桑拿会所.
READ MORE: Muslim woman detained for ‘suspicious behaviour’ while reading book about Syria during flight
But not everyone believed Saleh’s story.
Several 桑拿会所 users 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.
In 2014, Saleh admitted one of his viral videos showing purported Islamophobia on the streets of New York was in fact staged. At the time, he claimed it was a “dramatization” of discrimination he has experienced.
In a statement to Global News Wednesday, 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.”
READ MORE: Arabic-speaking man briefly stopped from boarding plane after passenger complaint
Late Wednesday, Saleh tweeted a message thanking the 桑拿会所 community for their support over the alleged incident on the Delta plane, claiming the airline is trying “save their brand.”
“Now that the video is out, they are trying to deny it to save their brand. Delta has been called out previously for racial matters,” he said.
“Yes we’re pranksters, and it sounds like the boy who cried wolf but today you can clearly see it’s as real as it gets.”
Thank you for all your support pic.twitter长沙桑拿/ukQ4EGVQ6r
— Adam Saleh (@omgAdamSaleh) December 22, 2016
Passenger accounts of what really happened on the plane are also conflicted.
One passenger told Buzzfeed News “he didn’t think Saleh was calling his mother and that the two were instigating other passengers.”
The passenger added, “I would want to see his phone records.”
Another passenger, interviewed by CBS News, said the incident seemed staged.
“To be honest, it seemed like more of a scene than anything had actually happened,” Jacqueline Willemsen told CBS news.
“I’m not sure what happened before but the way he was acting in a very arrogant way, immediately brought out the camera and seemed like it was very prepared.”
Another passenger added, “There definitely seemed to be a misunderstanding and then as he was walking off the plane several passengers were applauding that he was being kicked off.”
However, in an interview with the New York Times, passenger Chris Ashford said a woman sitting near Saleh “overreacted” when she heard him speaking Arabic.
“She heard somebody speaking in Arabic and assumed the worst,” Ashford told the New York Times.
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.
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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