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Ryanair passenger could get away with racist tirade as “name and shame” campaign picks up

Ryanair passenger could get away with racist tirade as “name and shame” campaign picks up
[Photo: Ludomit/Unsplash]

Criticism of Ryanair is growing after the airline failed to remove a passenger who launched into a racist tirade, an incident that was captured in a now-viral video.

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According to a video captured by fellow passenger David Lawrence and shared on his Facebook page, a white man was heard saying he refused to sit next to an elderly black woman who was seated in an aisle seat, calling her names including “ugly black bastard” and “stupid ugly cow,” and threatening to push her to another seat before the flight took off.

That last bit is key. The ugly tirade took place while the plane was still on the ground, meaning the crew could’ve removed the man and let the poor woman fly in peace. However, they did not. In the video, the cabin crew can be heard saying, “Don’t be so rude, you have to calm down,” while other passengers tried to intervene and called for the man to be thrown off the flight. Instead, the woman was given another seat, and the man stayed aboard.

Some Members of Parliament are calling for a boycott of Ryanair “if they think it’s OK for a racist man to abuse an elderly black woman and remain on the plane,” and comparing the situation to Rosa Parks. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling demanded that the police act, and even Prime Minister Theresa May has waded into the issue.

However, Labour politician Karl Turner noted in a Twitter stream that, because the incident happened on Spanish soil–and Ryanair is an Irish company–British police may be powerless to act. While Turner said he plans to pursue the matter, the man may simply get away with it.

In the meantime, social media users tend to have their own ideas about these matters, and a large number of them calling on internet sleuths to “name and shame” the man in the video. Typically, that happens quickly–as it did in May after, a viral video surfaced of a New York lawyer berating food workers for speaking Spanish. In that case, the man’s identity was revealed in a matter of hours. So perhaps it’s only a matter of time.

For its part, Ryanair is punting and saying it reported the matter to the police.

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