YouTuber Adam Saleh—of the accounts Adam Saleh Vlogs and TrueStoryASA—posted a video to Twitter early this morning which purportedly shows him being removed from a Delta Airlines flight along with his friend Slim Albaher. He says it was because they were speaking Arabic. “We’re getting kicked out because we spoke a different language,” he says to the camera. Some passengers in the back of the plane shout, “bye,” to which Saleh responds: “You guys are racist.”
Saleh told CBS News that a woman said, “You need to start speaking English, you’re making me feel uncomfortable.” After another passenger spoke out in support of Saleh, he said, the woman’s companion began “screaming and cursing” leading to others doing the same. Delta confirmed that “two customers were removed from Delta flight 1 departing London-Heathrow today after a disturbance in the cabin resulted in more than 20 customers expressing their discomfort.”
Saleh’s video was shared by celebrities including Guillermo Diaz, Aasif Mandvi, and Olivia Wilde.
Delta has a bad track record when it comes to tolerance. The company recently came under fire for allowing a man ranting about Donald Trump and calling women “Hillary bitches” to fly. (It eventually banned him for life.) Over the summer, a Muslim couple was removed from a flight leading the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Cincinnati to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation against the airline.
But here’s the catch: Saleh’s story is being treated cautiously by some because he is also known for putting out hoax videos. In one from last week, he claimed he stowed away on a flight in a checked suitcase, but Tigerair noted on Twitter it had footage of him boarding the plane in question. Back in 2014, Saleh was behind a video that purportedly showed an NYPD officer harassing two men in traditional Muslim dress. He and a fellow producer later acknowledged it was staged. He told the New York Times he was not making the Delta incident up: “The only thing I can say is, I would never film a phone video. That’s when it’s really serious, and I must film.” His agent also told The Washington Post that it was ”not a prank,” adding: “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.” On Twitter, Saleh said he and Albaher got on another flight with a different airline and land in New York at 5:50 p.m. ET.