If there were ever a perfect real-life example of Aesop’s Fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf, it would come in the form of Adam Saleh.
Saleh, the 23-year-old Muslim YouTube star known for his prank videos, was booted off a Wednesday morning Delta Airlines flight for what he claims was speaking Arabic on the phone with his mother and his friend.
His video on Twitter got over 800,000 retweets with outrage swirling around the internet about the racism and Islamophobia that persists throughout Delta Airlines and American culture.
Now, Delta and several passengers are calling bulls–t on Saleh’s claims, noting that he and his friend were trying to get thrown off the plane. Delta released a statement following the incident. Here’s an excerpt:
Upon landing the crew was debriefed and multiple passenger statements collected. Based on the information collected to date, it appears the customers who were removed sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting. This type of conduct is not welcome on any Delta flight. While one, according to media reports, is a known prankster who was video recorded and encouraged by his traveling companion, what is paramount to Delta is the safety and comfort of our passengers and employees. It is clear these individuals sought to violate that priority.
Passengers are now confirming Delta’s statement, disputing Saleh’s claim that he was on the phone at all.
“It was clear that this guy knew what he was doing, because as he was leaving the plane he would stop, he would kind of make eye-contact with people. He would say ‘Delta, Delta is kicking me off the plane.’ He wasn’t alone, he was travelling with somebody else,” Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson told CBS News.
Another passenger posted this eyewitness account on Reddit that also disputes Saleh’s claims:
The Reddit user even posted their boarding pass to prove they were on the same flight as Saleh.
We may not be anywhere closer to finding out what really happened, however, the media is giving an internet prankster more airtime than to those affected by the deadly string of attacks in Germany, Turkey, and Switzerland.