Rapper and music producer Will.i.am has accused a Qantas cabin crew member of racism, following an incident on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney.
Will shared his experience in a series of tweets, claiming the flight attendant was “overly aggressive” towards him and those he was flying with.
“I don’t want to believe she racist,” he wrote. “But she has clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of colour.”
The Black Eyed Peas star then revealed he’d been met by police after landing, noting: “This is how you’re greeted when you land from Brisbane to Sydney flying @qantas with a #RacistFlightattendant… She sent the police after me [because] I couldn’t hear the P.A while making beats on the plane wearing noise canceling headphones.
“Your #RacistFlightattendant was beyond rude & took it to the next level by calling the police on me. thank god the other passengers testified that SHE was out of Control. The police finally let me go. Imagine if the police were as aggressive as [her].”
In his tweets, Will.i.am named the flight attendant in question, and when one of his followers suggested he shouldn’t have done so, he wrote back: “I’m sorry? Is callin the police on a passenger for not hearing [the] P.A due to wearing noise canceling headphones appropriate?
“If didn’t put away my laptop ‘in a rapid 2min time’ I’d understand. I did comply quickly & politely, only to be greeted by police. I think I was targeted.
“She singled every person of colour [on board] the flight and gave them a hard time...and went to the extreme of calling the police on me when I did nothing wrong. Other passengers on the flight agreed that she was out of hand.”
After learning that the woman had begun receiving abuse from his fans, he added: “Please do not send Hate...This type of disrespect and name calling is uncalled for… I don’t support abuse & attacks like this.
“I hope that everyone can be more compassionate & understanding towards one another… because it was the lack of compassion that caused this.”
Qantas has dismissed Will’s allegation of racism: “There was a misunderstanding on board, which seems to have been exacerbated by Will.i.am wearing noise cancelling headphones and not being able to hear instructions from crew,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“We completely reject the suggestion this had anything to do with race. We’ll be following up with will.i.am and wish him well for the rest of the tour.”
Will is currently on tour Down Under with the Black Eyed Peas, who released their first single without long-term band member Fergie last year.
Since then, former The Voice Phillippines star Jessica Reynoso has joined the group as a singer.