Track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson was kicked off an American Airlines flight after an altercation with a flight attendant onboard that began over her mobile phone use.
Athlete Sha’Carri Richardson Booted From American Airlines Flight
The 23-year-old athlete, who was disqualified from the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo after marijuana was found in her system, was taking an American Airlines flight on Saturday to an unknown “vacation” destination.
She posted two videos on Instagram showing a terse encounter onboard and then a follow-up video in which she attempts to explain what happened.
First, she was asked to get off a cell phone call, which she claims she did (though not how quickly).
“Prior to the video this gentleman asked me to get off a cell phone call, I did,”
The flight attendant then asked to see Richardon’s phone again during the safety briefing to ensure it was in airplane mode:
“I stated to him I didn’t like the tone he used with me. Following that while standing in front of me doing the safety protocols he continued to lean over to look at my phone. He asked to see that my phones were in airplane more at this point. He demanded that me show him. Which I did in front of him.”
When the flight attendant demanded that Richardson stop recording, she refused, stating:
“You’re harassing me at this point, I think you should stop. I think you should stop.”
Richardson said she was simply doing a social media update for her followers 2.2. million followers, but deliberately turned the camera from herself in order to capture the flight attendant in the video.
Other passengers around her began to chime in telling her to stop. This made her angry and she refused, yelling out,
“Y’all see him right? Y’all see him right? Y’all see him right? I’m sorry, it’s not me. Talk to him. No ma’am. Do no talk to me like that. I’m an adult. Do not talk to me like that. Do not talk to me like that. Tell him to stop. If you do not know what’s going on, do not yell at me.”
She laced in some profanity too.
When it became clear she would be removed, Richardson was looking for other passengers to support her but it appears that no one was willing. In fact, most applauded when she was removed from the plane.
RICHARDSON: “Oh, so you’re worried about a connection when a grown man is disrespecting me?”
PASSENGER: “I don’t give a s**t!”
In her caption on Instagram, Richardson threatened legal action against American Airlines:
“Tell me if I’ll be wrong to pursue legal actions against the airline @americanair not only did the man threaten me but also an innocent bystander who simply just wanted a picture with me.”
She also focused on race, suggesting her skin color had something to do with it:
“In the beginning of the video you can hear a Caucasian male state that he doesn’t give a f as a man that male flight attendant is intimidating a woman. Also the captain not doing anything to help the situation and this flight attendant has the applause when I exited the plane when I’m pretty serious the disrespect I received would not have happened if I was a one of them. One of them even stated good luck with your ban ( I see he took the time to do some research but not stand up for what’s right) soooo @americanair this flight attendant name was John and he refused to state his last name. However him and the lady y’all see standing next to him looked me up…”
It’s rather difficult to piece together exactly what occurred based on the video fragments we have. What I will say is that flight attendants are generally very lenient about putting your phone in airplane mode, but if you’re on a call when they are trying to perform a safety demonstration or push back, you are going to get more attention. And if flight attendants feel like you are not going to listen to them, they will throw you off the plane.
That doesn’t mean you have to take abuse from anyone, but there’s a difference between abuse and simply being asked to do what current regulations concerning electronic devices require, specifically no phone calls once the aircraft door has been shut, at least prior to landing.
I’m not pointing fingers quite yet here. I see a very combative Richardson in the video and I see two flight attendants who have clearly had enough with her. The key is what triggered this in the first place.