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Will.i.am from Black Eyed Peas Goes on Twitter and Details Alleged Racist Incident between Artist and a Qantas Flight Attendant

Claudine Varela
Nov 20, 2019
03:40 A.M.
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Will.i.am defended himself from criticism after he accused a flight attendant of being racist. The singer was escorted off a Qantas flight after he allegedly failed to comply with a pre-landing procedure.

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Will.i.am called out a flight attendant for being racist after he was escorted off a plane.

Will.i.am at a launch event in 2015. | Photo: Getty Images

Will.i.am at a launch event in 2015. | Photo: Getty Images

The Black Eyed Peas member released a series of tweets describing the unfortunate incident as the “worse service” and blamed it on “an overly aggressive flight attendant.”

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The 44-year-old was on a Qantas flight from Brisbane to Sydney when the alleged “racist” incident occurred.

Will.i.am performing on stage in Del Mar, California in September 2019. | Photo: Getty Images

Will.i.am performing on stage in Del Mar, California in September 2019. | Photo: Getty Images

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HOW THE SITUATION UNFOLDED

According to TMZ, the flight attendants were preparing for landing and had asked passengers to store their electric equipment. Will.i.am didn’t hear the announcement because he claimed he was wearing noise-canceling headphones.

This resulted in the flight attendant becoming aggressive and the pilot alerting cops to stand by at the airport upon landing.

In one of Will.i.am.’s tweets regarding the incident, he said he didn’t want to believe the flight attendant was racist but adds, “she has clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of colour.”

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"If I did something wrong....or if I was the slightest bit rude to a FAN or a journalist during work, I would be publicly named...this is what Twitter is for...we are supposed to call out wrong doings so we can have a safer more compassionate world.”

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Will.i.am was escorted by five cops off the plane upon arrival. He tweeted a photo of one of the cops as he explained his side.

"@Qantas I was making music wearing noise cancelling headphones on the plane… I’m sorry I couldn’t hear the P.A…I complied when she’s tapped me on the shoulder to put my laptop away… It’s sad that your #RacistFlightAttendant sent the police…”

In another tweet, Will.i.am was grateful to passengers who took his side and testified on his behalf which encouraged cops to let him go.

“imagine if the police were as aggressive as [flight attendant],” he wrote.

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RESPONDING TO THE BACKLASH

Because he posted the flight attendant’s name and badge number, Will.i.am didn’t escape criticism. He defended himself by tweeting,

“If I did something wrong....or if I was the slightest bit rude to a FAN or a journalist during work, I would be publicly named...this is what Twitter is for...we are supposed to call out wrong doings so we can have a safer more compassionate world.”

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Continued attacks were sent his way slamming him for subjecting the flight attendant to abuse. To this he replied,

“This type of disrespect and name calling is uncalled for - I don't support abuse and 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.”

Will.i.am at City of Hope's 2015 Spirit of Life Gala. | Photo: Getty Images

Will.i.am at City of Hope's 2015 Spirit of Life Gala. | Photo: Getty Images

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QANTAS' STATEMENT

In response to Will.i.am’s complaints, Qantas released a statement through CNN acknowledging a “misunderstanding” had taken place on board. The statement added that the misunderstanding was “exacerbated by will.i.am wearing noise cancelling headphones and not being able to hear instructions from crew.”

Will.i.am in London in July 2019. | Photo: Getty Images

Will.i.am in London in July 2019. | Photo: Getty Images

The company also denied that the incident was racially motivated.

“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.i.am was in Australia for his band’s 2019-2020 world tour.

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