YouTube personality Adam Saleh posted a video on Twitter in which he claims that he was kicked off of a Delta flight because he spoke Arabic.
“Guys we spoke a different language on a plane, and now we are getting kicked out,” Saleh says in the video as he and his friend Slim Albaher are being escorted off of the plane. “This is 2016. 2016. Look, Delta airlines are kicking us out because we spoke a different language.”
One passenger remarks, “That’s insane,” while several other passengers wave goodbye in the background of the video.
— Adam Saleh (@omgAdamSaleh) December 21, 2016
“You guys are racist,” Saleh says in response to the onlooking passengers. “I cannot believe my eyes. I cannot believe it. I spoke a word of a different language and you said that you’re uncomfortable? I can’t believe it.”
“It’s six white people against us bearded men,” Saleh repeats in the video, which incited the hashtag #BoycottDelta.
Saleh continued to update his followers on Twitter, saying that Delta brought police to the gate to speak to them, that they were checked in security once again and that, after spending 30 minutes at security, they were placed on another flight with a different airline heading to New York City. He also posted several follow-up videos on Periscope in which he recounts his side of the story.
“Delta made the decision to kick us out of the fucking plane,” says Saleh in one of these videos.
Saleh told the Guardian that the issues began when he started speaking with his mom on the phone before the flight was about to take off. “Usually before I take off I speak to my mom. My mom is 66 years old and she only speaks Arabic, so I was speaking to her in Arabic – it was a 30-second phone call,” he said. Saleh also promised that they have “even more footage we’re going to be sharing.”
Saleh’s management team also provided this statement to PBS NewsHour:
“I was speaking to my mom on the phone like I always do before getting on a flight. I call her before I take off and when I land so that she knows I am safe and well. I was speaking in Arabic when a female passenger began shouting that they felt uncomfortable. This encouraged almost 10 other passengers to agree and shout the same thing. We were kicked off the flight while those passengers mocked us. We are currently getting ready to get onto another flight with another Airline. I will keep everyone updated with the situation through social media! I appreciate everyone’s support and effort in raising awareness on this!”
Delta issued a statement on the incident involving Saleh and his friend that reads, “Two customers were removed from this flight and later rebooked 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.”
Saleh has over 3 million subscribers across his two YouTube channels and is best known for his pranks, calling himself a “professional idiot.” Last week, he posted a video which alleged that he smuggled himself onto a Tigerair flight, though Tigerair said that the incident never actually happened and called the video inconsistent with reality.