Black passenger complained over White woman’s feet near his tray table in viral posts
A black man’s retelling of his experience aboard a United Airlines flight became viral, and the airline was accused of being racist by angry netizens. The man complained about the white woman next to him, and in return, she ended up leaving with the promise of a $1,000 voucher.
Frederick Joseph took to Twitter to share the unpleasant encounter he had on a flight from Austin, Texas, to Newark, New Jersey, thanks to the woman sitting beside him. He opened his complaint by posting a photo of the woman’s feet propped up next to his food tray, calling the action “white privilege.”
The audacity of white privilege:— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
This woman next to me took her shoes off and placed both feet on the table. So I’m waiting for flight staff to say something... pic.twitter.com/ldOIgwiPWi
He explained that he was waiting for the airplane's staff to say something, but it was in vain. The flight attendants passed down the hallway several times, and even when Joseph gave them pointed looks, or he said “the snitch eye,” they ignored the situation entirely.
TAKING THE MATTER IN HIS OWN HANDS
Fed up with the woman’s lack of education and basic airplane etiquette, he decided to handle the situation by himself. He recalled the conversation n his long Twitter thread: “'I say “ma’am, I’m trying to eat, and your feet are next to my food.” She says “what do you want me to do; the seats are small.”
So flight staff walks by numerous times without saying anything, and I’m irate, because no black person would ever get away with this shit. So I start looking at the staff noting that there is an issue. You know, giving them the snitch eye... pic.twitter.com/953966yubs— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
Joseph calmly tried to explain to the woman that there was room for her feet on the ground, under the seat at the front, to which she replied: “This is why I fly first class, and I don’t come back here with everyone else.”
“So I’m like “that’s great, so are you going to put your feet down?”' he added, noting that, as soon as he said that, the woman called over a flight attendant to complain about Joseph disturbing her flight.
So finally I decide to say something to the woman myself. So I say “ma’am, I’m trying to eat, and your feet are next to my food.”— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
She says “what do you want me to do, the seats are small” pic.twitter.com/AlizfVNAMB
AN UNDESERVED COMPENSATION
Finally having the attention of the staff, he left the woman make her complaint and then he explained the situation, pointing at her feet and pointing out that she was wrong with her actions.
The flight attendant tried to act as the peacemaker and suggested the woman put one foot down, or even to move her legs more to the window side. But the woman said, “if I put one foot down, I want to be accommodated for accommodating him.”
So I’m like “I understand, which is why there is room for your feet and legs under the seat in front of you”— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
So she says “this is why I fly first class, and I don’t come back here with everyone else.”
So I’m like “that’s great, so are you going to put your feet down?” pic.twitter.com/u3ZAOsrnxB
Then, the member of the staff left to talk with one of the persons in charge of the place, and she came back, it was with the promise of a $1,000 voucher for the woman, for her troubles. Astonished by the direction the situation took, and how fast the woman became the victim, he asked the flight attendant for how much would be his vouch, considering he also suffered distress.
So she calls over a flight attendant as soon as I say that!— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
She says to the flight attendant “this man is disrupting my flight, I’m just trying to be comfortable”
So I point at her feet and explain my stance.
And the woman replied:
“Sir, we can only make but so many accommodations, and she has agreed to move her feet for you.”
The flight attendant says... “well what if she puts her feet closer to the window or puts one down”— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
The woman says “if I put one foot down, I want to be accommodated for accommodating him” pic.twitter.com/NrUHKDj6m9
THE AIRLINE’S RESPONSE
Joseph, a marketing professional, and philanthropist called United’s customer service line to make a complaint about the issue, stating that the “white woman in customer service” didn’t get why the incident was problematic.
The young man received thousands of replies from angered netizens on Twitter, prompting him to demand United for an answer. So, the next day, he made an update about the situation.
So the flight attendant speaks to the person in-charge on the plane and they give promise this woman a fucking $1000 voucher ... ONE.THOUSAND. DOLLAR. pic.twitter.com/0DEZKKDU1e— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
He revealed that he received a call from the airline to tell him that the woman never got the $1,000 vouched she was promised. “So I told the United representative “I’m happy to hear that, but I still have an issue with the flight attendant pacifying her and essentially taking her side,” he tweeted, adding that by offering compensation for the woman, the staff created an unpleasant experience for him.
So I ask “what voucher will I be receiving for my suffering”— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
The flight attendant says “sir, we can only make but so many accommodations, and she has agreed to move her feet for you.” pic.twitter.com/617NE2aG06
He allegedly also told the customer service person:
“Also, I find it hard to believe that if this was a person of color someone wouldn’t have asked her to put her feet down.”
“She says “Sir, I personally don’t believe it has anything to do with race or culture. As you can hear from my last name, I am a Hispanic person.”
He referred to the airline's response as “Tone deaf.”
Basically, United had a woman w/ a Spanish sounding surname tell me there should be no issue because the woman ended up not getting money.— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 14, 2018
Oh, and racial bias didn’t matter here, because again a woman with Spanish sounding name at United says it didn’t.
Tone deaf. pic.twitter.com/TH9cT9FbjY
In a statement released to Newsweek, United Airlines said “we’ve talked with our customer to clarify this with him, and address his concerns. We want all of our customers to be treated with respect, and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”
Joseph ended his viral Twitter thread stating that he was officially moving on from the incident.
ANOTHER AIRLINE UNDER FIRE
On a similar note, another airline that has been under fire lately is Ryanair. Not only is people mad for their new policy about documented baggage, but also about their lack of proper training when it comes to handling conflicts between their passengers.
Ok boycott @Ryanair if they think it’s ok for a racist man to abuse an elderly black woman and remain on the plane. It’s 63 years since Rosa Parks said “No “ to sitting on the back of the Bus and we ain’t going back. https://t.co/IYczabgjMJ— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) October 21, 2018
A few weeks ago, an incident that took place on a flight from Spain to London shook social media.
Mrs. Delsie Gayle was traveling home from Barcelona with her daughter on a Ryanair flight when the white man seated next to her insisted she move seats. The angered white man got mad when Gayle didn’t immediately stand up so he could reach his place by the window.
Drunken passengers can be escorted from flights - but a racist verbally attacking a black pensioner and refusing to sit next to her is okay right? Just disgraceful on every level. Well done for this interview @Nadine_Writes https://t.co/wD80xDam35— Charlene White (@CharleneWhite) October 21, 2018
Gayle’s daughter defended her mother saying she has arthritis, but the man started yelling at her not giving her a chance to explain.
A passenger recorded the incident, as the man kept on spewing insults to the woman even after he was on his seat. He demanded her to move to another seat, and called her a “stupid ugly cow.”
Ryanair’s staff did little to defuse the situation. Another passenger had to intervene and tell the man to stop insulting the lady, and then Gayle herself asked to be moved to a seat near her daughter. The lady was left traumatized and depressed by the incident, as she told ITV News:
“I feel very low. He paid a fare to go on holiday, I've paid mine so why does he abuse me for that due to the color of my skin? I feel really depressed about it. I go to my bed and say 'what have I done?' I haven't done anything for you to attack me. Because of the color of my skin, I was abused like that?"
The airline released a tweet stating they were aware of the incident but couldn't tell more as they reported to the police.
Statement: We are aware of this video and have reported this matter to Essex Police— Ryanair (@Ryanair) October 21, 2018
The man later sent a public apology to Mrs. Gayle, but she didn’t feel it was sincere, so she refused it.
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