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Will.i.am claims ‘racist’ flight attendant called police on him

He posted the flight attendant's name on Twitter.


Alexandra Samuels


Posted on Nov 17, 2019   Updated on May 19, 2021, 10:48 pm CDT

Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am claims he and other people of color on a Qantas Airways flight from Brisbane to Sydney, Australia, were targeted by a “racist” flight attendant.  

Will.i.am—whose real name is William Adam—voiced his frustrations on Twitter. He said flight attendants were preparing for landing and told passengers to store their electronic devices, but he didn’t hear the announcement because he was wearing noise-canceling headphones

The music producer, who apparently had his laptop out at the time, eventually put it away after he was pilloried by an “over aggressive” flight attendant who was “beyond rude,” he said. 

He added that the flight attendant called the police, who were waiting on the singer when he landed. 

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

Will.i.am said he was escorted by five police officers after he got off the plane, and was eventually let go after other passengers “testified that SHE was out of control.” He also posted a photo of one of the police and named the attendant who he said targeted him on the flight. 

When asked on Twitter why he thought the harassment was targeted to him, he replied: “I’m sorry? Is callin the police on a passenger for not hearing he 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.”

A spokesperson for Qantas denied allegations of racism in a statement to the Daily Mirror and said the incident was prompted by “a misunderstanding on board.”

“We completely reject the suggestion this had anything to do with race,” the company said. “We’ll be following up with will.i.am and wish him well for the rest of the tour.”

While some Twitter users defended the singer after the incident, others chided him for posting the name and badge number of the attendant in question and said will.i.am might be subjecting her to online abuse. 


Still, the singer said he didn’t regret his actions. 

“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,” he said.

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  #noH8,” he added. 



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*First Published: Nov 17, 2019, 10:28 am CST