YouTube star says kicked off Delta flight for speaking Arabic

YouTube star says kicked off Delta flight for speaking Arabic
PHOTO: Video screengrabs

A Yemeni-American YouTube star from New York, Adam Saleh, called for a boycott of Delta Airlines after charging he was removed from one of its flights on Wednesday for speaking Arabic.

Delta said he was asked to leave the London to New York flight on Wednesday morning following an unspecified "disturbance."

"We spoke a different language on the plane, and now we're getting kicked out," the 23-year-old prankster, who has more than 2.2 million YouTube followers, said in a video filmed as the incident unfolded, and posted on Twitter.

Warning: The following video contains strong language some people may find offensive.

on Facebook

We got kicked out of a Delta airplane because I spoke Arabic on the phone with my mom and to my friend slim.... please help spread the word

Posted by Adam Saleh on Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Saleh said he had been talking to his mother on the phone when fellow passengers complained, and he was told to leave.

"You guys are racists. I spoke a different language and you say you feel uncomfortable! I can't believe my eyes. We spoke a different language and now there are six white people against us bearded men."

Several passengers could be seen voicing their support for Saleh, with one calling out the airline staff in protest, but others at the rear of the aircraft seemed to approve, waving him off and saying "Good Bye."

After an hours-long delay involving more security checks, Saleh said he was finally able to board a flight to New York with a different airline - and would head straight to see his lawyer.

Three hours after it was posted, Saleh's video had been retweeted more than 200,000 times, and the hashtag #BoycottDelta - which he included in a subsequent tweet - was trending on Twitter.

It was the latest of several cases in the past year in which passengers have run into trouble on American flights for speaking Arabic - or in one case for writing mathematical equations that passengers mistook for Arabic.

In its initial statement on the incident, the airline said it was investigating allegations of discrimination.

The company later said in an updated statement that the man, Adam Saleh, and the other passenger were removed because they "sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behaviour, including shouting." The airline said its information was based on statements collected from the flight crew and other passengers.

on Facebook

UPDATED STATEMENT: Customers removed for disruptive behavior Upon landing, the crew was debriefed and multiple...

Posted by Delta Air Lines on Wednesday, 21 December 2016

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