Much of our conclusions in the last article we wrote about Adam Saleh are backed by the other passengers on the Delta flight.
Adam Saleh was kicked out for, as he claims, “speaking Arabic.” This prankster is known for faking and staging videos. As well as for provoking people on flights. You can read more about the context here.
CBS and Buzzfeed actually spoke to several of the other passengers on board the flight.
Airline officials said in a statement that after speaking with crew members of the flight and several passengers, they believe Saleh and his companion tried to cause the disruption with yelling and other behavior.
Marvin Avilez, a passenger on the plane, told BuzzFeed News that after speaking with five passengers who witnessed Saleh’s behavior — Avilez himself didn’t see much of it — he didn’t think Saleh was calling his mother and that the two were instigating other passengers.
Avilez said it didn’t seem like Saleh made a call, adding, “I would want to see his phone records.”
Some passengers told Avilez that Saleh’s friend was prompting Saleh to say words in Arabic and to pump his fists in the air. He said that Saleh repeated those words and pumped his fists four to five times in a “joking manner, without any hint of aggression or anger.” Still, he said, about 20 “people felt very uncomfortable.”
A woman sitting near Saleh told him to shut up and they exchanged words, Alivez added.
Other passengers also said the incident looked staged.
Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson told CBS News speaking Arabic in a plane was not a good reason to kick someone off the plane, but that Saleh seemed like “he knew what he was doing,” during the disturbance.
“lt was clear that this guy knew what he was doing because as he was leaving the plane he would stop, he would kind of make eye contact with people and say, ‘Delta is kicking me off the plane.’”
Another passenger, Jacqueline Willemsen, also said the incident looked staged.
“To be honest, it seemed more of a scene than anything had actually happened,” she told CBS news. “I’m not sure what happened before but the way he was acting in a very arrogant way, immediately brought out the camera and seemed like he was pretty prepared before for what he was ready to do.”
When Saleh began recording the video — saying he was kicked off for speaking Arabic to his mother — everyone “felt horrible” and that some passengers began to cry as it “became an issue of race,” Alivez said.
However, he added, one female passenger eventually told another who was crying that “this guy’s a prankster and he does stuff like this.”
Avilez said he and other passengers “were like whaaat?”
Still, Avilez said that he did not think the incident was fabricated or a “premeditated prank.”
“Like any prankster, you’re always joking, you’re always ‘on,’” Avilez said. “I just think he and his friend were horse playing, they were goofing around, they were just being young kids.”
“Just like you don’t say the word ‘hijack’ on a plane, you don’t pump your fists and speak words in Arabic on a plane during these times,” Avilez said. “He was being immature, but was not preplanned.”
Another passenger shared his testimony about what happened. A Reddit user, who goes by Chain187, posted his testimony on Reddit. He also showed proof that he was onboard that flight. This is what he said:
I was sat two seats away from them internet prankster and his friend. Neither of them was on any phone call I could hear them talking in plain American English. The YouTube guy was trying to get his friend to shout something in Arabic which he did a total of 4 times. He shouted it across the plane and the first two times I thought he was shouting maybe a friend or something. A couple of passengers after the second time said they were making themselves and their young children uncomfortable and could they shut up. They told her to shut up and then he shouted it again and her husband started saying it to them. They were filming people’s reactions on their phones, I assume for some comedy YouTube video but they were made to delete it.
He is threatening to sue, saying he is speaking to his lawyer. But chances are, he won’t sue. He knows he doesn’t have a case. On top of that, reporting a crime that never happened is actually illegal and he could face repercussions.
He knows this that is why he took down a Youtube video of him admitting to hiring an actor for one of his videos he claimed was a social experiment.
Moving forward, we should be careful of those looking to make us, Arabic-speakers, look bad. This often comes from our own communities as is the case with Adam Saleh.
His Facebook page has grown by 42% since yesterday. That’s almost 300k new page likes.
Update 12/22/2016 at 7:25pm Lebanon time: Added an additional testimony