Several celebrities and entertainers pledged to boycott Delta Airlines after Internet prankster Adam Saleh claimed he was ejected from a Delta flight for speaking to his mom in Arabic.
Saleh’s video of the incident went viral online. After he tweeted #BoycottDelta, the Twitter hashtag became a top trending topic on the platform. Before long, celebrities were rushing to social media to protest what they believed to be a blatant example of “Islamophobia.”
Actress Olivia Wilde tweeted, “You’ve got to be kidding me, @Delta. We won’t be flying with you again. Unbelievable.”
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) December 21, 2016
Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal called the incident “terrifying,” and said “I will not be flying with @Delta.”
— Maggie Gyllenhaal (@mgyllenhaal) December 21, 2016
ABC’s Scandal star Guillermo Diaz said “unbelievable…sad, I peep you white people in the back saying , bye…shame on you.”
— guillermo diaz (@guillermodiazyo) December 21, 2016
Other entertainers posted similar reactions.
we need to boycott any/all companies who practice or condone bigotry. #boycottdelta
— moby XⓋX (@thelittleidiot) December 21, 2016
2016 may well be defined by humans losing their humanity. Scary times. Sad times. Dangerous times. This is getting sickeningly repetitive. https://t.co/GfWyINBCI5
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) December 21, 2016
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins98) December 21, 2016
While celebrities were quick to rush to judgement about Delta’s motives, others were pointing out some peculiarities in Saleh’s story. Twitter user Ashley Rae noted that Saleh is a well-known Internet prankster who has made similar videos about disruptions on airplanes.
— Ashley Rae (@Communism_Kills) December 21, 2016
Meanwhile, reporter Soledad O’Brien wrote on Twitter that one of her good friends was on the plane at the time of the incident, and that it was unclear whether Saleh had placed a phone call to his mother, as he had claimed.
Delta Airlines released a statement based on accounts from multiple passengers which confirmed that Saleh and his associate were removed from the flight after they “sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting.”
Updated statement: Customers removed for disruptive behavior | Delta News Hub: https://t.co/AfM3hjaawz
— Delta (@Delta) December 22, 2016
“This type of conduct is not welcome on any Delta flight,” Delta’s statement reads. “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.”
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter @jeromeehudson