American track-and-field athlete Sha’Carri Richardson was booted off an American Airlines flight at the behest of the captain after she argued with a flight attendant.
Richardson appears to have caused a disturbance which some passengers feared would make them miss their connections. As a result, her departure from the aircraft was cheered according to several social media reports.
The 23-year-old posted a series of videos and was filming one video during the safety briefing, which was audible in the background of her video. She said that a flight attendant asked her to end her phone call, which she did before telling him she didn’t like his tone.
Richardson was filming a video during the safety briefing, which could be heard in the background of her video, and then videoed a member of cabin crew, which is a violation of the airline’s policy.
There was no mention of where Richardson was flying to on Saturday in any of the posts or videos.
A flight attendant, whom Richardson identified as “John,” reportedly told the 23-year-old to get off her phone and she subsequently said in a video that she had taken issue with the tone he used.
“Following that while standing in front of me doing the safety protocols he continued to lean over to look at my phone,“ Richardson said in an Instagram story in which she tagged the airline. “He asked to see that my phones were in airplane mode at this point. He demanded that me (sic) show him. Which I did in front of him.”
In a subsequent video made after the initial interaction with the flight attendant, she can be seen on camera videoing herself.
“Not working today,” she says. “Vacation time.”
While making that video, she pans over to a flight attendant near her, who then backs away.
“I’m recording me but you jumped in my video so I caught you, because you jumped in my video,” Richardson says on the recording.
“You can’t record,” the flight attendant replies.
“You’re harassing me at this point so I think you should stop, I think you should stop,” Richardson responds in a sharp tone. Other passengers were heard in the background telling her to stop arguing with the flight attendant.
Most U.S. airlines including American forbid passengers from taking pictures of crew members while other photographs are allowed.
The flight attendant is heard in the video telling Richardson that she must stop recording. His initial instructions toRichardson were not included in any of the videos.
“No, I’m not going to stop recording because I was making a video to myself,” Richardson says in response.
Richardson then began to argue with other passengers.
“Y’all see him right? Y’all see him right? Y’all see him right?,” she said. “I’m sorry, it’s not me,” Richardson said to no one in particular but the comment was presumably meant for the other passengers on the aircraft.
“Talk to him,” she said to another passenger. “No ma’am. Do no talk to me like that. I’m an adult. Do not talk to me like that. Do not talk to me like that. Tell him to stop. If you do not know what’s going on, do not yell at me.”
Yet another passenger complained out loud that he was missing his connection, to which Richardson can be heard saying, “Oh, so you’re worried about a connection when a grown man is disrespecting me?”
“I don’t give a s**t,” was his succinct reply that appeared to sum up the general mood of the aircraft.
An airline employee then approaches Richardson and tells Richardson that she’s being asked to leave the plane. When she asks why, the employee responds, “The captain wants you off the plane.”
Richardson asks to speak to the captain and also enquires whether the flight attendant whom she argued with will be removed from the aircraft as well.
“So, he’s not being removed after being unprofessional and having his hand in my face?” she says after being told that the flight attendant won’t be leaving the plane. “So, I’m being removed off the plane without even being explained of (sic) why?”
The soon-to-be-exiting passenger then asks what the flight attendant’s name is, to which he again tells her she’s not allowed to record.
“No, but you jumped in my video, that’s what started this whole thing and the video shows you jumped in my video and invaded my privacy, you know that right?” she tells him. “So, it’s a possibility you can lose your job because I have evidence.”
A loud murmur is heard among other passengers at this point.
“Y’all see it on social media, because y’all have no idea who I am,” Richardson says on camera as she’s deplaning.
As she moves to walk towards the exit, multiple passengers burst into spontaneous applause.
Richardson rose to fame in 2019 as a freshman athlete at Louisiana State University and gained notoriety for testing positive for cannabis use which resulted in her being suspended and ruled ineligible to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)