Ryanair faces backlash after critics say staff failed to protect an elderly Black woman as she faced verbal racist insults from a white male passenger.
The airline, headquartered in Swords, Dublin, has reportedly referred the incident to Essex Police, which took place on Friday during a flight from Barcelona to London Stansted, The Guardian reports.
The incident captured on video by a UK passenger named David Lawrence shows the man as he unleashes a violent, racist, tirade towards the woman, at one point calling her an “ugly black bastard,” and yelling, “don’t talk to me in a foreign language,” according to the outlet.
According to witnesses, the man began lashing out after the woman sat down next to him and became enraged that she didn’t move fast enough when he told he ordered her to move.
The woman was accompanied by her 53-year-old daughter, who can be seen defending her mother while she tries to inform the man that her mother is disabled.
“I don’t care whether she’s fucking disabled or not – if I tell her to get out she gets out,” he yells back in response.
“If you don’t go to another seat I’ll push you to another seat he adds, after yelling at staff to move the woman.
At one point, a passenger seated in the row behind intervenes as a barrier, after the man points his finger towards the woman.
A Ryanair flight attendant walks over and tells the man to calm down, but seems to do little else as other passengers call for the man to be removed from the flight.
According to HuffPost who spoke with the woman’s daughter, the duo had just finished a trip to lift the woman’s spirits after losing her husband a year ago. The couple had been married for over 50 years.
The woman, who is id’d in the HuffPost article by her daughter as Mrs. Gayle, suffers from arthritis. She migrated from Jamaica to England in the 1960’s during the Windrush Generation, where nearly half a million people moved from the Caribbean to the UK from 1948-1970 in search of work opportunities.
“I know that if I was behaving like he was, or any other black person for that matter, police would have been called and we would have been kicked off the flight,” she said.
“Mum’s really feeling upset and very stressed about this situation, on top of the grief she’s already experiencing. As for me, I’m upset about the whole thing too – the fact that the passenger wasn’t taken off the plane and how the situation was dealt with,” she said.
According to the daughter, Ryanair staff denied hearing racist insults and told her to contact customer service on Monday.
After the incident went viral, the airline tweeted they could not comment further because the incident was being investigated by police.
“This incident, which we were made aware of this morning, is believed to have taken place on a plane at Barcelona airport. Essex police takes prejudice-based crime seriously and we want all incidents to be reported,” a spokesperson for Essex police said in a statement to The Guardian.
“We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation.”
Article Courtesy of MadameNoire
First Picture Courtesy of IPA and WENN
Second Picture Courtesy of WENN
Video Courtesy of Facebook and MadameNoire