'Known Prankster,' Delta Battle Over Truth of Plane-Removal Story

Airline denies his claim that it was over him speaking Arabic
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2016 2:28 AM CST

A YouTube star with a history of provocative stunts on planes says this time, the incident was real. Adam Saleh says Delta Air Lines removed him and fellow YouTube star Slim Albaher from a New York-bound plane in London Wednesday for speaking Arabic, Al Jazeera reports. In a video retweeted more than 750,000 times, Saleh accuses fellow passengers of racism as he's removed from the plane. Delta, however, said it "appears the customers who were removed sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting," that caused more than 20 complaints, Business Insider reports. One of the men is "a known prankster who was video recorded and encouraged by his traveling companion," the airline said in a statement.

After Saleh's complaint, critics noted that his YouTube channel is full of stunts and staged incidents, including a recent video where he falsely claimed to have smuggled himself on a plane inside a suitcase. In 2014, he was criticized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations for faking a now-deleted video in which he appeared to be singled out by an NYPD officer for stop-and-frisk because he was in traditional Arabic clothes. Saleh tells the Guardian that Wednesday's videos are no joke. He says fellow passengers started to become uncomfortable after he spoke Arabic in a brief phone call to his mother. Saleh, who traveled to New York on a different flight after going through another security check, says he plans to talk to his lawyer about the incident. (Singer Richard Marx took down an unruly Korean Air passenger.)

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