Two YouTube stars were removed from a Delta Air Lines flight in London on Wednesday following complaints by other passengers of them speaking in Arabic, the media reported on Thursday. Adam Saleh was returning home to New York after a world tour when he was removed from the flight after his co-passengers expressed discomfort with the two Muslim Americans’ presence.
Saleh told the BBC that he was asked to get off the London-New York flight after he spoke to his mother in Arabic on the phone.
Saleh, 23, a filmmaker from Manhattan, and his friend Slim Albaher, 22, from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, said they were asked by the captain to off-load the flight at Heathrow Airport.
Their British co-passengers were alarmed as they conversed in Arabic with each other following the phone call.
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The news was met on social media with anger at the airline industry, but also skepticism, though passengers who were on the plane when it landed in New York corroborated the story, the New York Times reported.
Saleh has more than two million subscribers on YouTube, and has a history of perpetuating video hoaxes and pranks, some of them aimed at exposing stereotypes about Muslims.
In his latest YouTube video, posted earlier this month, he pretended to smuggle himself onto a plane in a suitcase.
In a phone interview to the New York Times from Heathrow before he and Albaher boarded a later flight, Saleh said this was not a stunt.
“The only thing I can say is, I would never film a phone video,” he said.
His video camera was in his luggage.