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Published on Monday, November 18, 2019

Pop star Will.i.am accuses Qantas flight attendant of racism



Black Eyed Peas star Will.i.am has accused a Qantas flight attendant of being 'over aggressive' and racist after an incident on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney resulted in police being called on landing.





The star of ITV's The Voice, who is in Australia on tour, tweeted while he was still on the aircraft, telling his 12.8 million followers he had been mistreated by an 'overly aggressive flight attendant'.


He said: "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 said he did not hear announcements over the PA because he was wearing noise cancelling headphones and was then confronted by the flight attendant when he did not put away his laptop fast enough.


On landing, he was met and spoken to by five police officers, who eventually told him he was free to leave.





Subsequent tweets said: "Qantas, your racist flight attendant was beyond rude and took it to the next level by calling the police on me. Thank god the other passengers testified that she was out of control. The police finally let me go. Imagine if the police were as aggressive.


"Is calling the police on a passenger for not hearing the PA due to wearing noise cancelling headphones appropriate?


"I did comply quickly and politely, only to be greeted by police. I think I was targeted."


He went on to allege the flight attendant 'singled every person of colour in the flight and gave them a hard time', and that 'other passengers on the flight agreed that she was out of hand'.


He later told Australia's Sunday Telegraph:  "I've never seen this, it was like a police state.


"I am the coolest traveller, I don't ask for much. I try to stay out of their way. I come on the plane to go to sleep or I go to work."


Several passengers supported Will.i.am's complaint. However, he has been criticised for naming the attendant. Although he has not deleted the tweets that mention her by name, he asked fans not to verbally attack the cabin crew member.


"I wish no harm to that lady, hopefully this is a lesson," he said.


"She shouldn't lose her job over it — if anything she should be retrained on how to deal with people. This is an opportunity to be pleasant to everyone, to just be nice."


Qantas described the incident as a 'misunderstanding'.


A spokesman said: "There 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."

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  • Another perspective

    Perhaps Mr Wili.i.am should stop playing the race card as an excuse for being ignorant of safety procedures. The safety briefing is for everyone, and the fact that he had no respect for the airline's safety briefing or the crew presenting the briefing speaks volumes about his arrogance (not to mention the chip on his shoulder). Wearing noise-cancelling headsets during the safety briefing - which is incidentally, is when they tell you to stow all electronic devices - is ignorant and unsafe. Obviously not being able to hear the safety directions and commands from a crew member is both unlawful and unsafe. Writing as a 30+ veteran airline pilot. Kudos to the FA for holding him to account.

    By Nigel Edwards, Wednesday, December 4, 2019

  • What phones?

    I'd love to know what headphones will.i.am was wearing. I'd like a pair for my own long haul flights.

    By Jim Charne, Monday, November 18, 2019

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