Delta passenger and YouTube personality Adam Saleh says he was aboard a flight preparing to return to New York City on Tuesday evening when he began speaking Arabic while on a phone call with his mother. According to Saleh, several white passengers on the flight began to state that they felt “uncomfortable” after hearing him speak Arabic, at which point he says he and his friends were made to leave the plane with authorities.
Saleh captured the moment on camera and shared it on his personal Twitter page shortly after leaving the flight. White passengers can be seen waving while yelling, “Bye!” as Saleh continues to express his disbelief about what is taking place.
“They kicked us off the plane because we spoke Arabic and a lot of people felt uncomfortable,” Saleh said in a Periscope video posted to his Twitter page just after the group was removed from the plane. “I was talking to my mom in Arabic, then I spoke to Slim in Arabic and they kicked us out. Delta Airlines just kicked us out for speaking Arabic.”
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DELTA KICKEDF us out https://t.co/R9t9WObNLb— Adam Saleh (@omgAdamSaleh) December 21, 2016
Saleh and his friends eventually boarded a different flight from another airline to get back to NYC, after being made to go through a second, 30-minute security check prior to boarding.
UPDATE: Delta just brought the police to speak to us.— Adam Saleh (@omgAdamSaleh) December 21, 2016
UPDATE: We're being security checked AGAIN right now.— Adam Saleh (@omgAdamSaleh) December 21, 2016
UPDATE: were now on another flight with a different airline heading to NYC after being checked for 30 minutes. We land 5:50pm in NYC— Adam Saleh (@omgAdamSaleh) December 21, 2016
The group plans to meet with their lawyer to discuss the situation upon arriving to NYC.
UPDATE: were taking off right now and heading to our lawyer once in NYC. Any inquiries email: firstname.lastname@example.org— Adam Saleh (@omgAdamSaleh) December 21, 2016
While many took to social media in support of Saleh, some users also immediately noted Saleh’s documented history of referring to Black people as “Abeed,” which means “slave,” in his popular comedic YouTube videos.
This disturbing encounter is one of several racially motivated incidents involving Delta Airlines within the past few months. In October, a Black female doctor aboard a Delta flight was stopped from helping a sick passenger by a flight attendant who refused to believe she was really a doctor and instead accepted assistance from a white male doctor aboard the flight. A second Black female doctor also came forward that month with a similar experience while aboard a Delta flight.
In November, a Donald Trump supporter was filmed causing an uproar on a Delta flight as flight attendants stood idly by, while separate footage from an early December incident showed police officers literally dragging a Black woman off the plane for supposedly refusing to comply with boarding and baggage policies.