Monday, 19 November 2018
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‘Stupid ugly cow’: Passenger yells racist insults at a black woman, rewarded with ‘extra leg room’

‘Stupid ugly cow’: Passenger yells racist insults at a black woman, rewarded with ‘extra leg room’
22 Oct
3:04

In the video, the man can be heard yelling back at the younger black woman, all while other passengers continue shuffling down the aisle. A male flight attendant with his back to Lawrence’s camera apparently attempts to calm the situation, to little effect.

“I tell you, I hope somebody sits there,” the man tells the elderly woman, gesturing towards the empty middle seat between them.

A man yells racist insults at a woman sitting in the same row on a Ryanair flight, while a fellow passenger tries to intervene.

A man yells racist insults at a woman sitting in the same row on a Ryanair flight, while a fellow passenger tries to intervene.Credit:David Lawrence, YouTube

“‘Cause I don’t want to sit next to your … ” The rest of the sentence is unclear, though he appears to call her “sickly”, “fat” and “ugly”.

The flight attendant then asks the woman whether she would like to sit elsewhere.

“Put her to another seat!” the male passenger shouts, before turning to the woman. “I tell you this. If you don’t go to another seat, I’ll push you to another seat!”

The elderly woman says something back at him, prompting the man to retort angrily: “Don’t talk to me in a f—ing foreign language, you stupid ugly cow!” and then: “Ugly black bastard!”

The shouting had a mixed effect on surrounding passengers. One man, wearing a black T-shirt and sitting in the row directly behind, physically tried to intervene, sticking his hand between the seats in front of him and telling the irate passenger to keep his voice down.

“Stop,” the man in the black shirt pleads. “There’s no need for that at all. Just stop. It’s really easy to close your mouth.”

Lawrence, while recording the video, can be heard saying, “Throw him off the flight. Throw him off the flight. Get rid of him!”

Eventually, the elderly woman asks to sit next to her daughter and begins to move out of the row, visibly fed up.

To his surprise, Lawrence said, the flight took off shortly afterward, with no apparent repercussions for the male passenger, who effectively enjoyed “extra leg room” in a row to himself.

“I thought the flight attendant was going to call someone and escort the man off the flight,” Lawrence said. “They moved the woman instead of moving him. That was shocking to me.”

He decided to upload his video to Facebook the following day out of frustration.

“It was just so disturbing,” Lawrence said. “Because there was no response from the other passengers on the flight at the time, I thought, OK, well, somebody needs to know what happened here. That’s why I kept the video running and captured as much as I could.”

Over the weekend, the video garnered nearly 3 million views and has been shared tens of thousands of times. Lawrence later uploaded the video to YouTube, where it has more than 100,000 views.

Scores of commenters expressed outrage over how the matter was handled and demanded to know why Ryanair’s flight crew didn’t remove the male passenger before the plane took off.

Representatives for Ryanair did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday. However, the Dublin-based budget airline company said in a Twitter post on Sunday that it was aware of the video and had reported the incident to Essex Police.

“We operate strict guidelines for disruptive passengers and we will not tolerate unruly behaviour like this,” Ryanair told BBC News. “We will be taking this matter further and disruptive or abusive behaviour like this will result in passengers being banned from travel.”

Essex Police confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it was investigating and encouraged people with information to contact them.

“Essex Police takes prejudice-based crime seriously and we want all incidents to be reported,” the police department told the news site. “We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation.”

The woman’s unnamed daughter told HuffPost UK that her mother, identified only as “Mrs Gayle”, is a 77-year-old retiree who immigrated to Britain from Jamaica in the 1960s. They were returning from a vacation to mark the anniversary of the death of Gayle’s husband, the daughter, 53, added.

“She’s been feeling really down and depressed, so I thought the trip would raise her spirits,” Gayle’s daughter told the news site. “The underlying reason behind the man’s abusive behaviour comes down to the fact that my mum is a black woman and he didn’t want her sitting next to him. He says it in the video.”

Gayle’s daughter said the encounter left her outraged and her mother “upset and very stressed, on top of the grief that she’s already experiencing”.

Lawrence said that he spoke to the mother and daughter after the flight and said they were both disappointed and disgusted. His parents were also part of the “Windrush generation”, immigrants who moved from the Caribbean to Britain from 1948 to 1971, so Lawrence said he could understand why the elderly woman agreed to switch seats rather than escalate the situation.

“The racism they suffered on a daily basis is historic. Our parents have learnt over the years – because they have never received any kind of justice – they’ve just learnt to live with it,” he said.

“They kind of have this attitude, like, ‘Well, what can we do?’ sort of thing. The lady was, like, this has happened so many times. I just want to go home.”

Lawrence has since posted multiple more times about the incident on social media, urging people to put pressure on Ryanair for turning “a blind eye to racial discrimination”. The airline’s acknowledgment of his video was hardly a sufficient apology, he said.

“It’s not good enough,” he said. “It certainly falls so short of what we expect an airline to provide for, in terms of protecting their customers. It’s shameful. It’s shameful.”

The Washington Post

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/stupid-ugly-cow-passenger-yells-racist-insults-at-a-black-woman-rewarded-with-extra-leg-room-20181022-p50b42.html

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