Earlier this week Adam Saleh, a notorious internet prankster, made headlines with a video showing Delta airlines removing him from a plane allegedly for speaking in Arabic. Unsurprisingly, there was more to the story.
Saleh claims that he was on the phone speaking to his mother in Arabic when uncomfortable passengers reported him to the flight attendants. In his version of events he and his friend were victims of racial profiling.
In short, no he and his friend were not kicked off the plane for speaking in Arabic. They were kicked off the plane for intentionally creating a disturbance. After the story went viral, a few eyewitnesses were furious that the pranksters were getting so much attention and creating negative backlash against Delta.
One eye witness came forward and shared what really happened with a post on Reddit:
Maybe no-one will see this maybe there will be a backlash I don’t know but I feel I should say what actually happened on this flight.
I was sat two seats away from them [sic] internet prankster and his friend. Neither of them was on any phone call I could hear them talking in plain American English.
The YouTube guy (Saleh) was trying to get his friend to shout something in Arabic which he did a total of 4 times. He shouted it across the plane and the first two times I thought he was shouting maybe a friend or something.
A couple of passengers after the second time said they were making themselves and their young children uncomfortable and could they shut up. They told her to shut up and then he shouted it again and her husband started saying it to them.
They were filming people’s reactions on their phones, I assume for some comedy YouTube video but they were made to delete it.
For the record of anyone who thinks I have some racist or prejudicial motivation to say this.. first of all that’s a sad way of thinking.. secondly I am mixed race of Jamaican/British descent so I have [experienced] more than my fair share.
Secondly I have been the best man at two Arabic weddings, sad I need this disclaimer but it is what it is.. if anyone wants to ask any questions or berate me for whatever reason I’ll stick around while I wait 6 hours for my connecting flight.
Delta’s official statement supports the eyewitness’ account:
It appears the customers who were removed sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting.
This type of conduct is not welcome on any Delta flight. While 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.”
Saleh’s original footage and his ‘story’ can be seen in the video below.