On Thursday, Delta Airlines addressed the claims of “YouTube star” Adam Saleh by saying he was booted for “disruptive behavior,” not for speaking Arabic. This is the airline’s second statement on the matter after a boycott hashtag took root.
Previously, Saleh had accused Delta of kicking him off a flight for speaking Arabic. The above viral video showed Saleh being escorted off the plane while claiming to have been speaking to his mother on the phone. He also said he was on the verge of tears. Later, journalist Soledad O’Brien relayed her friend’s experience on the same flight: “A LOT still unclear. But apparently woman sitting near my friend tipped off flight attendants he was a youtube star known for pranks. Also people on plane disputing call to mom.”
Delta originally responded to Saleh’s video and tweets by acknowledging that he was asked to leave after a disturbance in the cabin. They have since interviewed multiple passengers about the event and concluded that Saleh (Delta calls him a “known prankster” who was being recorded by his traveling companion) was removed for “provocative behavior, including shouting.” Here’s the updated statement:
“Upon landing the crew was debriefed and multiple passenger statements collected. Based on the information collected to date, 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 traveling 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.”
If Saleh was truly disturbing the flight, it makes sense that he was ejected. Of course, the issue is a muddled one, which is further complicated by Saleh’s previous YouTube videos that show him speaking Arabic on planes to see if people freaked out. As sad as it may seem, he may not be the ideal spokesperson for this story.
Saleh and his travel companion, Slim, have recorded a rebuttal to Delta’s latest statement.
(Via Delta Airlines)