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Flight attendants hit back at will.i.am after rapper accused Qantas stewardess of racism

Flight attendants have fired back at rapper will.i.am after he accused a Qantas stewardess of racism during a flight to Sydney over the weekend. 

The Black Eyed Peas star claimed on Twitter on Saturday that he had been the victim of racially-motivated abuse when the employee called AFP officers on board after asking him to stow away his laptop. 

The 44-year-old rapper, real name William Adams, went as far as to identify the flight attendant by her full name on social media and said she was ‘beyond rude’ and ‘out of control.’

The Flight Attendants Association of Australia defended the employee on Monday, saying the woman was following safety protocols and should not be ‘shamed’ for doing her job.  

will.i.am (pictured leaving Sydney Airport on Sunday) took to Twitter on Saturday saying he had been a victim of racially-motivated abuse after the employee called AFP officers on board after asking him to stow away his laptop

Singer will.i.am, who's real name is William Adam launched into a Twitter rant (pictured) after he believed he was abused by Qantas flight attendant because of his race

Singer will.i.am, who’s real name is William Adam launched into a Twitter rant (pictured) after he believed he was abused by Qantas flight attendant because of his race

‘As employees, crew are bound to follow their employer’s direction. It seems that in doing this, crew are being vilified and ­attacked on ­social media,’ FAAA Secretary Teri O’ Toole told The Australian.  

‘It seems like a pretty simple request and it’s there to protect passengers.

‘No one should be named and shamed for doing their job and it seems the welfare of the crew ­involved is not being considered by the celebrities involved.’ 

Ms O’Toole’s comments come after the flight attendant was dragged into the fray a second time when The Veronicas released a statement in support of the rapper on Sunday. 

‘Sadly this female flight attendant was 1 of the 2 attendants involved in our incident with Qantas. 

‘We feel sickened she has given no reprisal & has instead continued to abuse her position, discriminate, and misuse the full force and intimidation of the Australian Federal Police to her agenda. In this case to menace will.i.am & other POC on this flight.

‘Both our incident and the recent not taken further by the AFP, stating it is a QANTAS issue not a police matter. ‘ 

Jess and Lisa Origliasso were themselves removed from a Sydney to Brisbane flight in September after a disagreement with staff over luggage.  

The sisters claimed they asked a flight attendant for help manoeuvring a bag in the overhead locker, but were refused because it was against company policy.

A fellow passenger helped instead but after they were seated, they claimed two flight attendants came over and lectured them, then ordered them off the plane. 

Qantas said claims that the same crew members were involved were ‘completely untrue’.

The airline also rejected allegations the situation had ‘anything to do with race.’  

The Veronicas’ Twitter account has since been deleted.  

Ms O'Toole's comments come after the flight attendant was accused of discrimination for a second time by The Veronicas' Jess and Lisa Origliasso, who were booted off a flight from Sydney to Brisbane in September

Ms O’Toole’s comments come after the flight attendant was accused of discrimination for a second time by The Veronicas’ Jess and Lisa Origliasso, who were booted off a flight from Sydney to Brisbane in September

In September, Jess and Lisa Origliasso were removed from a Sydney to Brisbane flight after a disagreement with staff over luggage and claim the same flight attendant was involved

In September, Jess and Lisa Origliasso were removed from a Sydney to Brisbane flight after a disagreement with staff over luggage and claim the same flight attendant was involved

The pair had shared this statement on Twitter before deleting their account

The pair had shared this statement on Twitter before deleting their account 

will.i.am said his treatment on board resembled a ‘police state’ after Australian Federal Police officers were called to meet him on the plane.  

At the time, he said he was wearing noise-cancelling headphones while he mixed music on his computer as the plane was coming in to land.

The artist was shocked that police were called as he didn’t think the altercation was a big deal at the time.

‘I’ve never seen this, it was like a police state,’ he told the Sunday Telegraph.

‘I am the coolest traveller, I don’t ask for much. I try to stay out of their way. I come on the plane to go to sleep or I go to work.’

‘She asked me to put my laptop away and I put it away and I told her to relax because the whole flight she was stressed.’

Five Australian Federal Police officers boarded the plane after it arrived in Sydney and discussed the incident with will.i.am and his entourage.

will.i.am said his treatment on board resembled a 'police state' after Australian Federal Police officers were called to meet him on the plane

will.i.am said his treatment on board resembled a ‘police state’ after Australian Federal Police officers were called to meet him on the plane

Where is the love? Some were quick argue the woman was only doing her job and it was not right to name and shame her to his millions of followers

Where is the love? Some were quick argue the woman was only doing her job and it was not right to name and shame her to his millions of followers

They decided not to take any action and later called the rapper to tell him this in person.

The artist said he shared the story with his 13 million Twitter followers and named the flight attendant because others may have been abused in the past.

He said other passengers didn’t have the profile he did, so it was his responsibility to bring the issue to light.

However, will.i.am insisted that he wanted ‘no harm’ to come to the flight attendant and ‘hopefully this is a lesson’. 

‘She shouldn’t lose her job over it – if anything she should be retrained on how to deal with people. This is an opportunity to be pleasant to everyone, to just be nice,’ he said.

He maintained the incident was racially motivated because the flight attendant allegedly singled out only people of colour on the flight.

‘I don’t want to believe she racist. But she has clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of colour,’ he said.

Qantas chalked the whole incident up to a misunderstanding, but rejected any claims 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,’ it said.

‘We completely reject the suggestion this had anything to do with race.’ 

Qantas only said ‘we’re looking into what occurred’ in regards to whether the flight attendant would face punishment. 

will.i.am, who is visiting Australia as part of the RNB Fridays Live festival with Black Eyed Peas, began his Twitter rant about 12.30pm on Saturday.

‘I’m sorry to say me and my group have experienced the worst service due to an overly aggressive flight attendant,’ he wrote.

‘I don’t want to believe she racist. But she has clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of colour.’

He then went on to specifically name the flight attendant and shared a shaky photo of a federal police officer, who greeted the group on disembarking the plane.

‘This is how you’re greeted when you land from Brisbane to Sydney flying @qantas with a #RacistFlightattendant,’ he wrote.

‘She sent the police after me because I couldn’t hear the P.A while making beats on the plane wearing noise cancelling headphones.’

However, a witness to the incident – who does not wish to be named – told the Daily Telegraph the stoush came after 50 Cent’s guitarist Travis Ferguson was told he would have to check his instrument in rather than take it on board.

The passenger said Ferguson left the plane and returned with his guitar, leading to a verbal altercation that will.i.am was oblivious to because he could not hear it through his noise-cancelling headphones. 

The Australian Federal police confirmed to Daily Mail Australia on Saturday that they had responded to a request for assistance from an airline arriving into Sydney from Brisbane and spoke to the crew and passengers on board.

‘AFP officers met the flight on arrival and spoke to crew and passengers on board. No further action was required as a result. The AFP considers this matter finalised,’ a spokesperson said in a statement.

The woman believed to be the flight attendant has been contacted for comment.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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