US hip hop artist will.i.am has accused a Qantas flight attendant of racism while on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney.
The musician is in Australia to promote a line of eyewear by store Specsavers and to perform a show with hip hop band, The Black Eyed Peas.
Will.i.am tweeted on Saturday a staff member on his domestic Qantas flight was “aggressive” toward him.
I’m currently on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney.
I’m sorry to say me and my group have experienced they worse service due to a overly aggressive flight attendant...
I don’t want to believe she racist.
But she has clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of colour
— will.i.am (@iamwill) November 16, 2019
The musician claimed he was targeted by the flight attendant because he was “of colour” and was not able to put his laptop away fast enough as he was wearing noise cancelling headphones “while making beats”.
What went on between then and landing is unclear, but will.i.am tweeted an image of a NSW police officer upon arriving at Sydney airport.
“This is how your (sic) greeted when you land from Brisbane to Sydney flying @Qantas with a #RacistFlightattendant... She sent the police after me because I couldn’t hear the P.A while making beats on the plane wearing noise canceling headphones,” he tweeted.
Will.i.am added in later tweet: “I was intimidated by 5 police officers when I landed... for what? I put away my laptop when she asked... why would she feel threatened by me to call the police?
“What did I do wrong? I wasn’t out of hand... I was polite & did what she asked.”
Fellow passenger Kate Selwy claims she was on the same flight and tweeted her support for the musician.
“I was on the same flight and couldn’t believe the appalling behaviour of the flight attendant. My apologies on behalf of Australia,” she wrote.
Qantas Australia told Yahoo News Australia in a statement the incident was “a misunderstanding on board, which seems to have been exacerbated by will.i.am wearing noise cancelling headphones and not being able to hear instructions from crew”.
“We completely reject the suggestion this had anything to do with race. We’ll be following up with will.i.am and wish him well for the rest of the tour,” the spokesperson said.
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