Delta Responds to Adam Saleh's Claim

December 22nd 2016

Delta Airlines released a second statement regarding comedian and YouTube star Adam Saleh's claim that he was kicked off of a flight after speaking in Arabic.

On Wednesday evening, Delta said the following about the alleged incident that took place prior to takeoff on Delta Flight 1, which was leaving London's Heathrow airport:

"Upon landing the crew was debriefed and multiple passenger statements collected. Based on the information collected to date, it appears the customers who were removed sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting. This type of conduct is not welcome on any Delta flight. 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."

Earlier on Wednesday Delta responded with the following:

"We take all allegations of discrimination seriously and we are gathering all of the facts before jumping to any conclusion. Our culture requires treating everyone with respect. Furthermore, Delta people are trained to and frequently handle conflicts between passengers. 

"Maintaining a safe, comfortable and orderly onboard environment is paramount for every flight and requires the cooperation of all of our customers in conjunction with adherence to directions from our crew members. This is a Delta policy and is required by U.S. regulations as well as others governing aviation worldwide. 

"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.

"We have spoken with the customers who were removed; they were rebooked on another flight. Plans are in place to immediately speak with our crew and other passengers when the flight lands this afternoon. We will provide an update once we have more information."

Saleh initially posted the below tweet and video early Wednesday morning:

He later posted a longer note and a YouTube video about the alleged incident:

The reaction to the tweet, as ATTN:'s previous story highlighted, was mixed: some on Twitter pointed to the claim as evidence of discrimination, while others were skeptical of Saleh's video, given his previous history of hoaxes. ATTN:'s Mike Rothschild explained the phenomenon behind the mixed reactions: 

"These mixed reactions in regards to Saleh's claims point to a phenomenon known as 'motivated reasoning,' which when related to conspiracy theories is the act of believing that something is true or false based on the desire to believe it to be true or false, social psychologist Sander van der Linden told ATTN: in December.

"'Often, belief [...] is not about the evidence, but is linked to a higher-order ideological worldview that supports the underlying narrative,' van der Linden added."

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