Early Wednesday morning, a newly viral video — which comes with a slight language warning — showed “YouTube star” Adam Saleh and a companion leaving a Delta flight. Speaking into his phone’s camera, Saleh gave his version of events. He claimed that “white” people complained about feeling uncomfortable after overhearing him “speaking a different language.” He detailed how he spoke Arabic to his mother on the phone, which he said resulted in Delta telling him to leave. Saleh claimed to be near tears, and some passengers expressed disgust at the men’s ejection while others can be seen saying, “Bye.”
According to Gothamist, the flight was scheduled to depart from London’s Heathrow airport to New York City at around 11:00 am local time. After the ejection, Saleh filmed a Periscope video, in which he stated that passengers complained that he was being “kind of loud,” and “people didn’t like it.” Saleh insisted that he wasn’t being loud and deserved a warning before a booting.
Saleh continued to live-tweet his account (which he said included a police visit, an extra security screening, and a significant delay) for hours.
In response to these widely circulating tweets, Delta acknowledged the removal of Saleh (following a “disturbance”) in a statement to CBS News:
“Two customers were removed from this flight and later rebooked after a disturbance in the cabin resulted in more than 20 customers expressing their discomfort. We’re conducting a full review to understand what transpired. We are taking allegations of discrimination very seriously; our culture requires treating others with respect.”
Saleh arrives with some notoriety. He brands himself as a “professional idiot” and maintains two YouTube accounts, which contain both prank videos and reflections about Muslim life. His AdamSalehVlogs channel and TrueStoryASA channel boast 2.2 million and 1.6 million subscribers, respectively.
About a week ago, Saleh uploaded a YouTube prank video, in which he claimed to hide in a suitcase throughout an entire flight before landing in a different city. However, the airline (TigerAir Australia) debunked the video and proved that he did take the flight as a normal passenger. And they outlined inconsistencies that proved he couldn’t have traveled in a suitcase.