NEW YORK (CBSMiami) — A YouTube star claims he was kicked off a Delta Air Lines flight after speaking Arabic on the plane.
Adam Saleh, who has two YouTube channels with nearly 4 million subscribers combined, said he was talking to his mother on the phone and with his friend who was on the flight with him when some passengers started complaining about him speaking Arabic.
However, Saleh’s YouTube channels are full of prank videos as well as videos about Muslim life, and he is a self-described “professional idiot.”
Saleh has a history of posting prank videos designed to look like the real thing, including an infamously faked viral video that alleged to have shown anti-Muslim bias from the NYPD.
In 2014, Saleh’s video “RACIAL PROFILING EXPERIMENT!” showed him and friend staging a fight twice in front of an alleged police officer, once in Western street clothes, and once in Muslim clothes. The Smoking Gun revealed the hoax relatively quickly, but two years later, as of Wednesday morning, Saleh still does not indicate that the video was staged in its description.
Just last week, Saleh was called out for faking a video allegedly showing him sneaking onto a flight inside a suitcase.
“There was 20 people who were uncomfortable with me speaking Arabic, and my friend speaking Arabic,” Saleh told CBSN. “When the captain came he was telling me and my friend that he wants to speak to us outside… and at that moment I knew I was being kicked out.”
Saleh said it seemed the captain was “ashamed or embarrassed,” but still removed him and his friend off the flight.
“He didn’t want to get 20 people upset, he’d rather get two people upset,” Saleh said.
Delta issued a statement Wednesday saying, “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.”
However, Delta employees have been accused of discriminating against Muslims in recent years.
In August, an Ohio Muslim couple said they were removed from a return flight from Europe after an airline employee allegedly singled them out because of their appearance.
Saleh documented the experience in a series of tweets Tuesday.
“We spoke a different language on the plane and now we’re getting kicked out,” Saleh says in a video posted to Twitter, showing him being walked off the plane. “I can’t believe my eyes.”
WARNING: Video contains some strong language.
One passenger stood up for Saleh, saying the situation was making him “really upset.”
“That is insane, that is so crazy. Why are you being kicked out?” the passenger said.
Other passengers can be seen waving at Saleh and saying “bye.”
“You guys are racist,” Saleh responds.
Saleh later wrote that he spoke with police and went through another security check before boarding a different flight to New York City.
The hashtag #BoycottDelta started trending on Twitter after the video went viral.
Saleh said he takes about 20 flights a month and speaks to his mom before takeoff on every flight.
“I travel a lot and I never in a million years ever knew I would experience something like this,” Saleh said.
Saleh told CBSN he plans to meet with his lawyer.
“What they did was wrong,” he said. “I’m not going to let this go. What if they do this to people like my mother who don’t even speak English?”