Adam Saleh and Delta are not backing down from their sides of the story.
The YouTube star recorded himself and friend Slim Albaher getting kicked off a Delta flight earlier this week for, what he claims, was speaking to his mom on the phone in Arabic. The two were on their way back on a flight from London to New York after completing a world tour, when passengers began to say they were uncomfortable with Saleh and Albaher's presence on the plane. Saleh is known for his YouTube videos where he often tries to expose stereotypes and racism towards Muslims, but according to him this wasn't any sort of hoax or plan.
“The only thing I can say is, I would never film a phone video,” Saleh told The New York Times. “That’s when it’s really serious, and I must film.”
A fellow passenger, who speaks Arabic, said Saleh and Albaher were "trying to antagonize people" so the other could film their reactions. "He was never any part on the phone — I would have heard the whole conversation. If someone's being racist, I would stand up right away," Anthony Ellis told The Washington Post. "In this day in age, you defend each other. It wasn't like that. I mean, this guy was trying to antagonize people. I think because they made it into such a big scenario, [Saleh] then kind of panicked a little bit."
Another passenger, Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, said she couldn't take any side but she did point out that both parties should have been removed. “If you’re going to investigate, how are you going to investigate one side of an altercation?” she told The New York Times.
Delta released a statement shortly after Saleh's video of the incident went viral. The airline company is claiming Saleh and Albaher were removed because they "sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting."
“What is paramount to Delta is the safety and comfort of our passengers and employees,” Delta stated. “It is clear these individuals sought to violate that priority.”
Saleh's video shows passengers waving bye to him and Albaher — one traveler even gave them the finger as they were being escorted off the plane. “You guys are racist,” Saleh shouted. “I spoke a different language and you said you feel uncomfortable? There’s six white people against us bearded men."
In his interview with The New York Times, the YouTube star says a man with a British accent swore at them and said they should be "chucked" off the plane. “At this point, me and Slim looked at each other,” he said. “We didn’t know what to do. We felt like we were terrorists.”
More on page 2 >>>