Will.i.am is accusing a Qantas flight attendant of racism because of the way she acted toward him and other “people of colour” during a flight to Sydney from Brisbane.
According to will.i.am, the flight attendant in question singled him out when he did not hear an announcement broadcast on the plane asking passengers to put their laptops and other devices away.
This led him to post the following tweet to his nearly 13 million followers:
“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.”
In response to the allegations, Qantas issued a statement in which they thoroughly denied the charges.
They 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.”
The spokesperson added, “We’ll be following up with will.i.am and wish him well for the rest of the tour.”
Will.i.am’s troubles did not end with his tweet. After the plane landed in Sydney, the airport police questioned him about the incident.
This led to another tweet from him: “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 . . . now you’re asking me to take abuse?”
Will.i.am also posted on Twitter the name of the flight attendant and her image, along with the image of one of the police officers that questioned him. Though he also asked his followers not to target the woman.
The recent targeting of a Postmates delivery woman by Lizzo on Twitter led to a lawsuit against the singer.
UPDATE: Qantas is threatening legal action against will.i.am if he does not retract the racism allegations. “Absent a retraction, and if the crew member wanted to take the matter further, we’d certainly be willing to provide legal support for them to do this,” a Qantas spokesperson just told CNN.