Flyertalk member rwoman reported being on the flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK that self-described ‘professional idiot’ Adam Saleh claimed he was kicked off of for speaking Arabic. And she disputes his version of events.
As I wrote when his video started going viral,
Saleh is a social media video star, and his twitter account has over a quarter million followers. He’s no threat.
He is, however, something of a provocateur — in the news recently for faking smuggling himself in a suitcase onboard a Tiger Air flight from Melbourne to Sydney. I’d normally take him with a grain of salt, but his live videos are compelling. (Tiger Air provided evidence his checked baggage prank was a hoax.)
Prior to the flight taking off, rwoman posted (it’s in the OMNI forum, so won’t be accessible to everyone:
Am flying [London – New York JFK – Austin] today. Figured this may make Twitter or the news while we are airborne.
Waiting for the boarding door to close and then there’s an altercation on my flight as a passenger is suddenly yelling he’s being discriminated against…
A guy making loud claims of discrimination…and that a white guy cursed him out for speaking Arabic.
There was no loud altercation before the guy started yelling into his video camera. And there’s always two sides to every story.
Red Coat said it had nothing to do with speaking another language…two young guys trying to get attention.
And they are not going to NYC on this plane.
Happy travels all.
Update…as we are still on the ground… per the pilot one of the people involved likes to garner this sort of attention. Sigh…
At a minimum it seems like he was looking for an altercation. From the video he posted it appears he got one. I still think though that:
- Airlines need better training on altercations with people of color
- Fear of ‘other’ is a real problem that has led to many passengers being treated unfairly.
I don’t know what’s in this guy’s mind. Easy to say he’s looking for attention for himself. But if he’s looking to leverage his platform to highlight a very real problem and what he says really happened I think I’d feel differently about him (more positive).
There’s certainly reason to believe that his version of the story is only slightly more true than his claim that he flew as checked baggage on a recent Australian domestic flight.