A singer has been found guilty of racially-aggravated assault against a flight attendant that occurred on a British Airways flight last summer.
English Singer Demands Free Upgrade To Business Class On British Airways, Then Tells Flight Attendant “I Want Your Chocolate Children”
39-year-old English singer, songwriter, and actor Lee Ryan boarded a British Airways flight from Glasgow (GLA) to London City (LCY) in July 2022 already intoxicated after purportedly drinking a bottle of port in the British Airways lounge before boarding his delayed flight. Onboard, Ryan tried to strike up a conversation with his seatmate but when his seatmate did not want to chat, he became indignant.
He then asked a flight attendant, named Leah Gordon, if she could upgrade him to business class since he was a British Airways Gold cardholder. She told the Court:
“He told me he had a problem, that he was being harassed by other passengers, that he was famous and asked did I know who he was.”
But his request was declined. He then took an interest in Gordon, calling her beautiful and putting his sunglasses on her face. He then said:
“You’re my chocolate darling, my chocolate cookie, and I’m going to have your chocolate children.”
She shrugged it off and went about doing her work, but Ryan approached her again and said, “Before I get off this plane I need a kiss from you.”
Gordon told Ryan to “stay away” and he responded by grabbing her wrists, prompting other passengers to intervene and pull Ryan away. She told the court:
“He was towering over me, like he was leaning in to give me a kiss.”
During this time, Ryan was “slurring his words and staggering around.” In London City, he resisted arrest by police (trying to bite one of the cops) before later telling them:
“I wish I could ring her up and apologize and offer her some Blue tickets for the next tour.”
In court, Ryan denied that his words were racist, claiming he was just being “playful” and that the word “chocolate” was affectionate. He also added that he said “chocolate chip” which means the cookie was “white.”
“My band member is black. I’m not racist, I’ve had black girlfriends, mixed-race girlfriends.”
He also has a wife…for now at least.
“It was banter, just drunk banter I suppose, there was no malice or intention to upset anyone. I didn’t mean to cause any distress to anyone or be racist, it was just a poor choice of words I suppose.”
I suppose so…
Ryan was found guilty of assault with the Court also finding the assault was racially-aggravated. He now awaits sentencing.
Lee Ryan was found guilty of racially-aggravated assault after a string events that began with a British Airways flight delay and a bottle of port wine and ended with trying to bite a police officer in London. Frankly, I’m surprised Ryan did not try to pin this all on British Airways for the flight delay as the proximate cause of his poor behavior. His words in court suggest he is not remorseful at all for what occurred onboard.