By: Jordan Howard
Delta Airlines experienced huge controversy from Twitter, this past December, when they were shown escorting an Arab American man, Adam Saleh, off of a flight. Saleh, speaking Arabic on the phone, caused other passengers to become uncomfortable. This resulted in immediate attention by the staff. Because of this, Saleh and his friend, Slim Albaher, resorted to Twitter to showcase the apparent racism Delta Airlines portrayed.
As a YouTube personality, Saleh is most known for pranking airline passengers with Arabic. However, in this instance, Saleh convinces Twitter that Delta Airlines is kicking the two Arab men from the plane specifically for speaking Arabic.
Saleh said, “This is 2016. 2016. Delta Airlines are kicking us out because we spoke a different language. You guys are racist. I cannot believe my eyes.” As he said this, the uncomfortable passengers start to clap and encourage the staff to escort them out.
Nevertheless, Saleh too received controversy from this incident, due to the fact that it could’ve been a planned prank. This debate comes about when Twitter users explore Saleh’s YouTube channel and witness videos like another prank based on police brutality. Airline passengers also said Saleh was “over reacting” and was never heard speaking on the phone, but rather shouting across the plane in Arabic.Anthony Ellis, a passenger, said, “One of them would shout something while the other filmed people’s reactions,” Therefore, the Delta Airlines staff was not being racist but helpful by dismissing the disruptive passengers.
Saleh still defends his statement that none of the video he posted on Twitter was planned. He later began a trend to boycott Delta Airlines by spreading the hashtag “#BoycottDelta.” Saleh’s agent, along with some Twitter users, also believe this terrible incident was not staged and support his plan of action against Delta Airlines.
Saleh’s agent Naz Rahman said, “We wouldn’t go to this extent to do a prank. I know he’s a prankster, but you can see it clearly on video what’s happened there,” This whole situation, in my opinion, is troubling. It’s hard to tell whether Delta Airlines was actually being racist or being helpful since Saleh and Albaher were disruptive. Saleh’s plan to boycott Delta has brought a lot of attention and makes people unsure where to stand.