The airline Ryanair is coming under fire for its failure to remove a man who engaged in racist abuse on a flight between London and Barcelona.
Over the weekend, video footage captured by another passenger on the flight was widely shared on social media. The video appears to show an elderly black woman being racially abused by a white male, who threatens to push her out of her seat.
He says, “If you don’t go to another seat I’ll push you to another seat.”
He continues on to say, “Don’t talk to me in a fucking foreign language, you stupid ugly cow,” before calling the woman an “ugly black bastard.”
Ryanair has been criticised for not removing the passenger using racist language from the flight. Instead, the airline elected to move the woman to another seat.
After the exchange, a Ryanair attendant says to the man: “Don’t be so rude, you have to calm down.” The airline employee adds that he will refer the incident to a supervisor.
Yesterday, Ryanair tweeted, “We are aware of this video and have reported this matter to Essex Police.”
“Racial Slurs and Foul Language”
Ryanair has been criticised after footage emerged of a passenger racially abusing an elderly black woman sat next to him.
For legal reasons, we have obscured the faces of the individuals involved.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 22, 2018
Passenger David Lawrence, who filmed the footage, told BBC 5 Live that he had witnessed, “the most disgusting exchange of racial slurs and foul language.”
He also expressed shock that Ryanair staff “allowed something like this just to go unchecked” and that fellow passengers failed to intervene.
David Lawrence uploaded the footage to social media where it has been viewed over two million times.
The incident and the apparent use of vile racist language could be investigated as a hate crime. This comes just days after government figures showed how widespread hate crimes involving race are across England and Wales.
The total number of hate incidents reached a record of 94,098 from April 2017 to March 2018. This figure marks a rise of 17 per cent from the previous year.
Over three-quarters of the reported incidents, a total of 71,251, were classified as “race hate.”
On Sunday, Essex Police said: “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. We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation.”
Essex Police have asked for witnesses or people with any information about the incident to come forward.
Shadow Transport Minister and Labour MP for East Hull, Karl Turner, tweeted: “He should have been removed from the flight and handed over to the police.”
He should have been removed from the flight and handed over to the police. We assume the aircraft was in the UK. If it was, he definitely committed criminal offences. I fully expect @Ryanair to confirm the situation if In fact it was their flight? https://t.co/ORfww9ZiPg
— Karl Turner MP (@KarlTurnerMP) October 21, 2018
Chuka Umunna MP, asked, “Why on earth wasn’t this man removed from the plane?”
However, it appears that as the incident took place in Spain and Ryanair is registered in Dublin, Essex police may not be able to prosecute the passenger using racist, abusive and threatening language.