Just before taking off on a flight home to New York from London, 23-year-old YouTube vlogger Adam Saleh made a phone call to his mother. New York-born Saleh, whose channel has more than 2 million subscribers, spoke in Arabic, and continued to so with his friend and fellow YouTuber Slim Albaher, 22. This reportedly concerned other passengers, leading the duo to be kicked off the plane.
“We felt like we were terrorists.”
— Slim Albaher (@SlimmySlim94) December 21, 2016
But Saleh didn’t let this pass quietly. While being escorted out, he recored a video and posted it on Twitter as the two argued with the flight staff and passengers, garnering the meager support of only a couple bystanders. He and Saleh asked their followers to share their experience—and they did. But despite some believing this was a hoax—it wouldn’t be their first—Delta Airlines later confirmed the incident with The New York Times, stating, “two passengers had been removed from the flight after a disturbance in the cabin resulted in more than 20 customers expressing their discomfort.”
The duo eventually got on a Virgin flight to New York while Delta stated they are reviewing the incident and “taking allegations of discrimination very seriously.” Meanwhile, criticism of both Delta and the YouTubers has erupted on social media. Some are firing shots at Delta, which is totally warranted, while others are calling out Saleh and Albaher for consciously trying to stir trouble, not once, but like, a handful of times over the years.
“We didn’t know what to do,” Saleh said to The New York Times. “We felt like we were terrorists.”
There’s no question that booting someone off a flight for speaking Arabic, or any language for that matter, is discrimination—and everyone should have the right to fight that. But is it fair play to seemingly attempt to signal this discrimination so it could be caught on camera and shared? Tell us what you think in the comments.