Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

Fellow Delta passengers refute YouTube star Adam Saleh’s claims

Just days after the incident, people who were sharing the original flight have started to offer their accounts, which vary greatly with Saleh’s.
Delta Air Lines passengers are speaking out about the incident on Wednesday involving YouTube star Adam Saleh. File photo courtesy Dave Sanders for The National
Delta Air Lines passengers are speaking out about the incident on Wednesday involving YouTube star Adam Saleh. File photo courtesy Dave Sanders for The National

Passengers on the same Delta Air Lines flight as Adam Saleh and Slim Alabher are rebuking the pair’s claims of discrimination which saw them thrown off a flight from London to New York before take-off.

Saleh, a popular comedian and YouTube star posted a video to Twitter and Facebook on December 21 claiming he and his friend, comedian Suleiman (Slim) Alabher, were being escorted from of a Delta plane for speaking Arabic to each other and to Saleh’s mother over the phone.

Upon disembarking Saleh was questioned by police and caught a later flight with a different airline, but not before creating a social media meltdown when he urged people to follow the drama using the hashtag “#BoycottDelta”.

In the days since the incident passengers on the original flight have started offering their accounts. Anthony Ellis told The Washington Post he was seated a row in front of Saleh and Albaher. “He was never any part on the phone — I would have heard the whole conversation,” Ellis says. “If someone’s being racist, I would stand up right away. In this day in age, you defend each other. It wasn’t like that. I mean, this guy was trying to antagonise people. I think because they made it into such a big scenario, [Saleh] then kind of panicked a little bit.”

Another person who is claiming to be a passenger said in a Reddit post that Saleh had goaded a friend into shouting in Arabic across the plane and filmed fellow passengers’ reactions, before being told to be quiet. This claim was accompanied by an image of a boarding pass for the flight, to corroborate the otherwise anonymous statement.

This claim tallies with the statement released by the airline following the incident which read: “Based on the information collected to date, it appears the customers who were removed sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behaviour, including shouting. This type of conduct is not welcome on any Delta flight. Whilst one, according to media reports, is a known prankster who was video recorded and encouraged by his travelling 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.”

Facebook user Roderick J. Edens took to the social media platform to post that his friend was sitting in the seat directly in front of the pair. “The entire thing was planned,” he claims. “He wasn’t on the phone with his mom speaking Arabic. He and his friends were shouting in Arabic with their fists balled up in the air. They were removed from the plane for being loud and disruptive and then started filming claiming they were victims. These guys aren’t victims, they are social media whores.”

Delta Air Lines has since confirmed Saleh was removed from the flight after 20 people complained and cited the safety and the comfort of their passengers was paramount. Saleh, however has reiterated on social media that his experience was not a part of a hoax.

aseaman@thenational.ae

Updated: December 24, 2016 04:00 AM

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