Budget airline Ryanair is facing boycott claims after a video emerged which shows an apparently racist confrontation on board a flight.
David Lawrence, who filmed the video, told HuffPost that is was taken on 18 October before Ryanair flight FR9015 left Barcelona airport on its journey to Stansted Airport in London.
It shows a white man screaming because he doesn’t want to sit next to an elderly black woman. Another woman, thought to be related to the passenger experiencing the verbal abuse, asked him to “give her a chance!”
A flight attendant attempted to calm the situation. But instead of removing the abusive passenger, he asked the woman if she wanted to sit somewhere else, a request she refused.
The man next called the woman an “ugly black b*stard” and screamed:
Don’t talk to me in a foreign language, you stupid ugly cow!
Shockingly, he threatened the woman with physicality:
I’ll tell you this. If you don’t go to another seat, I’ll put you into another seat.
After this, the woman asked if she could join her daughter, who had moved.
The video of the incident has amassed more than one million views on Facebook and has gone similarly viral on Twitter. Watch it here:
This racist white man refused to sit next to an elderly black woman on a Ryanair flight.
He called her an "ugly b… https://t.co/7Lp1z3tyOW
Lawrence claims that no one asked the man to move seats or vacate the flight during or after the incident.
The woman was later identified as Mrs Gayle, a 77 year-old pensioner from London with Jamaican heritage. Heartbreakingly, her daughter told HuffPost that her father, Mrs Gayle’s husband of 50 years, had passed away recently. She also suffers from arthritis.
Following the incident, people have criticised Ryanair for its handling the situation, with many calling for a boycott given the fact that the man was seemingly not asked to leave and the victim was instead moved away from him.
He should have been removed from the flight and handed over to the police. We assume the aircraft was in the UK. If… https://t.co/1jQDvYahV9
Just watched the shocking footage on a @Ryanair aircraft, utterly disgusting. Racist male passenger should have bee… https://t.co/pmgssdmUN4
— Margaret Ferrier MP (@Margaret Ferrier MP)
indy100 reached out to Ryanair for comment, asking for an explanation of why the man was not removed and why Mrs Gayle was moved seats, plus any details of the action taken by crew. They responded with the following statement:
We have reported this to the police in Essex and as this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further.