will.i.am-Qantas row: Artist accuses flight attendant of racism, airline calls it 'misunderstanding'
The rapper said the attendant called the cops on him, after landing in Sydney.
In a Twitter thread on Saturday, the rapper said a flight attendant of Australian carrier Qantas misbehaved with him when he was travelling on a Brisbane to Sydney flight.
"I'm sorry to say me and my group have experienced they (sic) 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," he tweeted, while naming the cabin crew member in question.
I’m currently on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney. I’m sorry to say me and my group have experienced they worse se… https://t.co/NGYN1QMDOi— will.i.am (@iamwill) 1573866206000
I am in the public eye & I behave even when I have a bad day...my mother raised me to be polite & treat people with… https://t.co/UtfWWDFN9d— will.i.am (@iamwill) 1574061178000
After landing in Sydney, will.i.am said the attendant called the cops on him.
"This is how your greeted when you land from Brisbane to Sydney flying @qantas with a #RacistFlightattendant ... She sent the police after me bacause I couldn't hear the P.A while making beats on the plane wearing noise cancelling headphones (sic)..." he wrote in another tweet.
This is how your greeted when you land from Brisbane to Sydney flying @qantas with a #RacistFlightattendant named L… https://t.co/PPuxJ7D3p8— will.i.am (@iamwill) 1573867603000
The airline initially dismissed the incident as a "misunderstanding", according to The Australian newspaper.
"We fully support our crew and the great work they do ensuring safety of all those on board... 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," Qantas said in a statement.
"We'll be following up with will.i.am and wish him well for the rest of the tour," the company added.
Meanwhile, Teri O'Toole, secretary at Flight Attendants Association of Australia (FAAA), criticised the rapper for publishing the name of the attendant on microblogging site.
"As employees, crew are bound to follow their employer's direction. It seems that in doing this, crew are being vilified and attacked on social media. It seems like a pretty simple request and it's there to protect passengers.
"No one should be named and shamed for doing their job and it seems the welfare of the crew involved is not being considered by the celebrities involved," O'Toole told the outlet.
On Monday, a spokesperson for Qantas said the airline would be willing to support the attendant in pursuing a legal action against the rapper.
"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," he said.
will.i.am is in Australia with his band Black Eyed Peas for their 2019-20 world tour.