Did A “Professional Idiot” Get Kicked Off A Delta Flight For Speaking Arabic?!

Update: Some people are calling for a complete boycott of Delta based on this story. More about why I think that’s premature.

Usually I’m enraged when I hear of people being kicked off planes for speaking Arabic, because discrimination is a very real thing. At the same time, here’s an instance where I’ll give the airline and other passengers the benefit of the doubt until a full investigation is done, given who we’re talking about.

Why? Because just a few days ago I wrote about Adam Saleh, a YouTuber who claimed to have flown in the cargo hold of a Tigerair Australia plane from Melbourne to Sydney, and videotaped the whole thing. However, as it turns out, the whole thing wasn’t real, and he actually flew in the cabin — the airline did a hilarious job calling him out.

You’d think he’d lay low for a bit, but now he’s back with his latest airline “story.” He just uploaded a video to Twitter of him being removed from a Delta flight this morning at London Heathrow:

His claim is that he got kicked off a Delta flight because he spoke Arabic, and because it made other passengers uncomfortable.

Supposedly Delta brought the police to speak to him and his travel companions, and also had them searched again:

Also, he’s going to see his lawyer as soon as he lands in NYC:

So far Delta has issued the following statement regarding the incident:

“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.”

Kudos to Delta for responding in the best way they can so far. It’s tough to know what really happened as of now, though:

  • I’m more skeptical of a story told by someone who is a self proclaimed “professional idiot” and who lied just days ago about being in the cargo hold of a plane
  • He claims that Delta representatives told him he was kicked off for being loud rather than for speaking Arabic
  • While we’re not yet sure if it applies in this instance, one thing is for sure — a countless number of people have been removed from planes for speaking Arabic or for looking Middle Eastern, and that’s horrible
  • The guy does social media for a living and knew this would be a big story, so he certainly had an incentive to let this play out as much as possible

So here’s to hoping he was just escalating the situation rather than this having been a legitimate case of discrimination. Delta as an airline takes stuff like this seriously, so I’m confident they’ll investigate this fairly.

Where do you stand — do you give him the benefit of the doubt given the number of times stuff like this happens, or do you for now give the airline the benefit of the doubt, given his stunt from a few days ago?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Comments

  1. I don’t think this was fake; and I don’t think Delta deserves “kudos” for their doublespeak non-response. Plus, Delta has a history of allowing racism and doing little to correct it. Remember the incident from October, with the black female doctor?

    More generally, I find it troubling that anyone in this country approaches accusations of racism and bigotry with skepticism, particularly given the words and conduct of the orange asshole who will soon become our president. Posts like this make me wonder if voted for him!

  2. No – it’s the boy who cried wolf. When you have a history of trying to create false things to go viral on social media, you’re not entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Most stories about people speaking Arabic getting kicked off start with 1 person saying something to the airline and the airline overreacting. We have 20 people complaining here so I’m going to assume this guy started speaking Arabic very loudly in a manner intended to create discomfort and otherwise caused a disturbance. Based on this guys history – fake until proven otherwise.

  3. This clown is just looking for attention with fake stories. He did the same thing a few days ago as you point out in this post. Nothing to see here.

  4. This guy is an idiot. I am sorry if he was in fact treated that way, completely unacceptable. this is a boy cried wolf situation. He doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt from me because he pulls this stuff for a living.

    I hope it’s not racism and if not, I hope delta charges him of bans him for life.

  5. @Robert I generally give the person claiming racism the benefit of the doubt, but in this case, this person’s job and recent antics should engender skepticism. He’s someone whose professional goal is to seek attention and create drama.

  6. “He never addressed the situation further.”

    From the description of the YouTube video:

    “***To everyone who’s watching my videos for the first time. If you watch my previous vlogs, I said I’ll be doing a prank on my viewers. This video was the PRANK and I was supposed to reveal it when I was in NYC. But this video ended up making international news and spreading more than what I expected. I really didn’t know it would seriously make headlines because so many youtubers have done this as a joke. I apologize to anyone I got mad. It was supposed to be a prank for my viewers but it spread to people who don’t even watch my videos. Much LOVE! xx”

    Video of him addressing the situation posted 5 days ago:

    https://youtu.be/Pd8JCfFzh4s?t=11s

    The guy is an idiot for sure, but let’s be fair here. Especially in this day and age when people can be told something is a fake yet still believe it to be true.

  7. Ben, you comment too much too early.
    Lets wait until the facts emerge, Facebook and other news are full of it, but nothing is totally clear yet!

  8. That other person sitting there supposedly standing up for them looks…scripted to me. I dont support questioning or delaying people because they speak arabic (or “look middle-eastern”), but given the history of this nice gentleman, I cannot help myself thinking that he might have (successfully) provoked this by just speaking loudly and only coincidentally in arabic. I’m actually annoyed by him just watching that tiny little video 🙂
    I’d also for sure be annoyed by any delay caused by an obnoxious passenger…so I think the “if in doubt, get pax out” tactics employed by Delta here are not too bad. I think they wouldnt want to risk having somebody who is acting in a way that annoys other paying customers on a longhaul flight.

  9. I feel that when bloggers like Ben give idiots like this guy coverage (even negative coverage), they are giving him exactly what he wants. If everyone just ignored these guys, they would be gone quickly.

  10. Interesting POV Robert.
    For one, I don’t believe everything people tell me. In fact, given our last election I’m skeptical of pretty much everything anyone tells me. Not because of Trump, not because of Hillary. But because of the more important problem… that our main choices came down to those two.
    And you believe Adam right off the bat.
    Evidence in this case makes me lean towards this article being fake. This man is a moron seeking attention. Not because he says he is a moron or tries to be a moron or presents himself as a moron… but because he actually IS a moron. As in… unaware of his own stupidity.
    Present evidence to the contrary, and we’ll talk.

  11. I hope he gets sued by the airline and a person on the plane for libel. He filmed several people very clearly accusing them of racism.

  12. Let’s be honest here, if he was a white man speaking to his mom in English, albeit loudly, none of this would have happened. In fact they would have said, “what a good boy”!

    This goes hand in hand with Delta’s anti Gulf carriers policy and in the age of Trump, expect more of this sanctioned racism coming up!

  13. Why give the ‘congenital idiot’ any more airtime on your blog? Have you seen the type of pranks he plays? If he tries it in the US, I suspect he might be shot by the cops.

  14. I’m sorry but all of you defending Delta are clearly buying into the paranoia. I speak 3 languages and I will not let some fearful person tell me in what language I can or cannot speak. I’m a 4th generation United States citizen, all of my family being born and raised in NYC. If I was worried about terrorism I would be in a mental institution by now given all the foreigners speaking different languages that live in my city. Mind you I witnessed all the horrors of 9/11, and still such horrendous incident did not bring so much fear to my heart that I feel the need to complain about someone speaking in Arabic. It’s ridiculous that people are buying into the racism and Delta is perpetuating said fear. I feel sorry for all you fearful folks. The only way to truly protest is with your money. Don’t buy Delta airfare.

  15. “When you have a history of trying to create false things to go viral on social media, you’re not entitled to the benefit of the doubt. ”

    This.

    Ignore this publicity hound.

  16. @NewYorker. What paranoia? Nobody here is decrying that this man spoke arabic, they’re decrying that he seems to be an obnoxious prick. (Based on his previous actions)
    You speak as though accusations can just be hurled and we should accept the accusations without the facts.

    Ipsofacto I could call you a racist pig.

    Of course, such a thing would make no sense, but by your logic, it’s ok, everyone should believe me, and now it’s up to you to defend yourself. And for added measure (since this is the way the comments sections on the internet seem to work), even once you prove you are not a racist pig, nobody would care about the proof, or admit they were wrong, they’d still refuse to hang out with you. (Or in this case, refuse to fly with Delta)

  17. Too early to judge this until more details come out. Because of his history of phony stories odds are better than even that this is another stunt. Keep in mind that this event happened a few days removed from the terrorist attack in Berlin amid heightened tensions – people are scared.

  18. I’m actually rather angry / upset. Especially after what happened in Berlin this week, I don’t understand how can some one find this funny or even tolerate this as a prank stunt and “oh he did similar things before, so no reason to take this further; let him be; ignore him”. Well, I hope he wont be ignored by the authorities… Not sure what he deserves, but certainly, in this day and age, to scare the general public……

  19. Being idiot,being loud,lying previously well are these good reasons to remove someone from a flight,he is harmless and no threat;anyway Delta got it in their Asss as the news is all over and Londoners are frankly disgusted this is happening in our ground,American do and behave as you lije in your kand but when in London you respect our culture and manners and racism and duscrimination the american way is not allowed here,stay at home next time.

  20. The guy is clearly an attention whore who uses Youtube videos and social media to make money for himself. There’s not a thread of evidence that his removal was because he spoke Arabic vs. he was being rude and obnoxious to other passengers (a common reason for removal).
    Anyone that’s travelled internationally has encountered many people speaking in different languages (including Arabic) on their cell phones before take-off and there is no incident. Adam either wanted the incident to earn money from Youtube hits or is just too rude and obnoxious to know how to properly behave around others.
    Blaming the airline or other passengers, is based on pure speculation.

  21. If it turns out to be a hoax. Hen he did a huge disservice to people who actually are discriminated against

  22. First of all, Judging from the anti-Muslim climate and the rhetoric of our President thus emboldening racists and putting the fear into people’s hearts how can you not see this scenario as possible? Also the fact that Adam is a drama seeking sensationalist has no bearing what so ever about what actually transpired. And all of you who site “the evidence” well there is none so lets not draw any conclusions. I just feel that the scenario is entire possible and will not out rule it.

  23. How insensitive and ignorant of the writer and those leaving comments claiming he is an idiot who is either lying or deserves it. Delta airlines has a history of racist act led out by its employees. If you can tell yourself this is not an act of racial profiling then I employ you to attend a cultural studied and history of racism lecture. To the writer, yes you have written a piece about this event…was it well written? No. You focused on his career not the event… You are a perfect example of propaganda and simoly a bad journalist.

  24. @Jeremy prick – I think you misunderstood me – I meant somewhere in the desert where the date palms are situated!

  25. This guy has a history of making false claims of discrimination. He made a video where he claimed the NYPD profiled him and his friend and showed a cop searching them. After investigation by the media it was shown to be a hoax. I really wish he could be arrested and charged if this is another hoax. This happens to muslims who are minding their own business and for a guy to make a scene as part of a hoax and exploit this problem would be just despicable. If it is determined that this is all a hoax he really should be banned from Delta. I wouldn’t want to fly with a guy who is going to start filming and accusing random people of discrimination. The notion that over 20 people on the plane complained about him tells me it was about a hell of a lot more than the fact he spoke arabic. Chances are the people in the plane are more worldly than you would normally get being that it is an international flight between two major international cities London and NYC. Somehow I’m sure many muslims speaking arabic have flown this same flight route without issue.

  26. Pratts like him cause racism. A scrounger for cheap publicity.
    Bar him for flying (or filming anywhere)

  27. Wow!! Delta must throw off a lot of passengers. Woweee a foreign language… so rare!!! Please… LHR to NYC no less…… Maybe kicked off for being rude and abnoxious!!!!!! cause he definitely was not acting sad, but menacing to me!!!! Top it off with he’s a YouTuber……

  28. This guy is a compulsive liar. If it is true, I still wouldn’t believe him. Everything he says and does is a complete lie.

    People like him should be ashamed of themselves. There are very real hate crimes committed in the world, and every time someone like this little bugger lies about one, it brings all other legitimate claims into doubt.

    Frankly, if I were an airline, I would ban him from flying with me. His business is just not worth the hassle I’d get from yet another of his “prank” videos.

  29. This is TOTALLY AMAZING.

    Just two weeks ago everyone was dissing Delta for not THROWING OFF a Trump supporter because he ranted about the election. Y’all stated he had to be removed for loud voicing/disruptive behavior.

    So why does THIS CLOWN get support – because of “racism” and discrimination? Ridiculous. Y’all told Delta to get the other passenger off the airplane because he was disruptive. And then he got banned for life!

    I guess if he was a Muslim it would have been OK? Perhaps ranting about Allah (PBUH)?

    This dude craves attention. I wasted some time watching his Tigerair video – what a crock! Don’t give him the attention he wants with his “professional idiot” antics.

  30. Put this idiot to jail and ban him from flying for life. What a loser! Same goes to his buddies who took the video, whole brunch of losers should send them back to their countries.

  31. This man should be ashamed of himself !!!! He does this for attention .. Going on plans “pranking” and “experimenting” !!! He is a FRAUD and its sad because people experience REAL discrimination so to be out baiting people just to be able to play the race card is DISGUSTING !!!

  32. Seems like just another stunt . Considering his recent history he likely was trying to extend his fifteen minutes . Maybe that is why there is video available .
    If he was only speaking Arabic he should not have been kicked off the plane . If he was being loud , threatening , obnoxious then perhaps he should have been taken off for the sake of the other paying passengers .I am in favor of all rude , offensive people being on the no fly list regardless of their politics , religion , ethnicity .
    Please be considerate when flying ( all the time actually )
    For those many who crave attention maybe the Gong Show should return .

  33. This loser needs to be put on the no fly list!!! People who do pranks like this to falsely enrage people should be charged with a hate crime for these kinda pranks!!!! What an a-hole!!!

  34. He should have been removed from the flight. Good call Delta.

    What he was doing was behaving rudely and making fellow passengers very uncomfortable. When he was removed, he came more provocative and belligerent declaring “…six white guys…” racist. (Apparently, people like him are such a bigot that it is always the ‘white guy’ who is the racist. Memories of Archie Bunker.)

    For this professional “clown and provocateur”, respect is a one-way street reserved for his personal use.

    A side-note: Americans who do not speak another language are generally uncomfortable in situations where other people are talking in a language other than English.

  35. Perhaps 1.75 million passengers fly every day around the world. Let’s say 15% of those flying are Muslim (half of those are Arab speakers). If this was not an isolated over the top, fake incident fabricated by Adem Saleh for his personal gains – you would see 130,000 people being expelled from flights every day simply based on speaking Arabic. Obviously that’s not happening. This guy is giant deusche who basically succeeded in perpetuating a stereotype of his own people in order to gain youtube hits. Shameful and not funny – esp. given recent events.

  36. Given his previous aviation antics and the fact that he is a YouTube “star” :rolleyes:, I would bet this ‘professional idiot’ is really an ‘attention whore’

  37. Yea this article is complete bullshit you moron. SO what if he is a professional Film maker who videos skits and pranks with his friends?! He has become successful from it and you can clearly tell the difference between one of his videos and this outrage happening before our eyes….your a piece of shit for this. Why even try to turn heads the other way…”delta should sue them”? go fuck yourself.

  38. “I find it troubling that anyone in this country approaches accusations of racism and bigotry with skepticism.” That’s hilarious. Basically, all it takes is an accusation of racism to be guilty of racism? Gotcha.

  39. This guy could be working for isis or Islamic group. They are playing the victim as a distraction for something bigger. Ppl should look deep before trying to sympathize with him. He may be in for something big. Islamic terrorists are using the western countries flaws against them. They use ppl like this to create chaos so they can have a way to perpetuate their main agenda. I don’t know the role of our president in these ppl. I hope he leaves office to help fight these ppl as a Christian. Most Muslims know about these attacks in advance. The liberals are falling prey to these con. They will only succeed by making more ppl liberal and drug users. I pray for USA

  40. Another 20-something kid who thinks he’s got it all figured out, and he’s going to enlighten all of us “sheep” about how the world REALLY is.
    If this kid has a brain in his head, one day, when he’s in his 40’s (or so) he’ll look back on his recent actions and realize he was being a little PR*ck.

  41. Well, a couple things. There are up to 6 passengers from the flight that have called this Bullshit. 2 of these passengers were sitting in the row in front and in the same row. They tell a completely different story than the alleged victim does. Easy enough to solve. Adam claims he was on the phone speaking Arabic with his mother. The testimony of the other passengers say there was no phone call and he was not speaking Arabic. Ask him to show his phone records, they would have logged the call and all the pertinent info related to it. If he called at that time, that would put the other passengers testimony in the garbage. If there is no call to mom at that time, then Delta should put him on the no fly list and sue for libel. Another thing, wtf is with calling these things he does pranks, they are accusations of hate crimes, not short sheeting someone’someone’s bed.

  42. 2 morons looking for a reaction while posting on twitter pretending they can’t believe what’s happening to them. Keep giving these morons the attention theyre craving.

  43. heres what we know. saleh cant speak arabic. he barely understands it. we can assume that he normally doesnt speak arabic. he did an interview with al jazira where he demonstrates he is not fluent in the language. since he normally doesnt speak arabic, and is not fluent in the language, we can assume that he was speaking arabic to get a rise out of people, and it is unlikely he was speaking arabic to his mother, and also not to slim (his sidekick), because slim is also not fluent in arabic. it’s unlkely 2 people not fluent in the language would be speaking arabic to each other. i have uploaded the interview to my vk account.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *