(CBS News) — YouTube celebrity Adam Saleh, whose prank videos have garnered him a significant online following, has accused Delta Air Lines of kicking him off flight because he spoke Arabic to his mom on the phone before takeoff.
Saleh has more than 1.6 million subscribers to his TrueStoryASA YouTube channel, and more than 2.2 million subscribers to his Adam Saleh Vlogs YouTube channel. Saleh’s YouTube channels are full of prank videos as well as videos about Muslim life, and he is a self-described “professional idiot.”
In an interview with CBSN, Saleh said he takes numerous flights every month, and he was upset because something like this never happened before.
“I speak to my mom on the phone every flight,” Saleh said. “She only speaks Arabic.”
He said when he was speaking to her, a woman in the seat in front of him turned around and told him he ought to speak English. Saleh said he told her he can speak whatever language he likes, and her husband responded by standing up and screaming at him.
Then about 20 people allegedly said they were uncomfortable with Saleh and his Arabic-speaking companion. The pair were approached by the captain, who Saleh said “seemed ashamed and embarassed” when he asked them to leave the plane because of the other passengers’ complaints.
In one video Saleh posted to Twitter that was retweeted 83,000 times in just 2 hours, Saleh can be seen getting escorted off the plane.
(WARNING: Video contains some strong language that some readers may find offensive.)
In a statement, Delta said:
“Maintaining a safe, comfortable and orderly onboard environment is paramount for every flight and requires the cooperation of all of our customers in conjunction with adherence to directions from our crew members. This is a Delta policy and is required by U.S. regulations as well as others governing aviation worldwide.
“Two customers were removed from Delta flight 1 departing London-Heathrow today after a disturbance in the cabin resulted in more than 20 customers expressing their discomfort.
“We have spoken with the customers who were removed; they were rebooked on another flight. Plans are in place to immediately speak with our crew and other passengers when the flight lands this afternoon. We will provide an update once we have more information.”