Earlier this week, a vile racist man who called a woman an “ugly black bastard” on a Ryanair flight went viral on social media, in a clip that’s been seen millions of times across all social media platforms.
Today, it has been confirmed that the man has now been reported to police by the airline.
The clip, taken on a Barcelona-Heathrow flight, shows the man expressing his anger at sitting next to the woman. She’s not doing anything wrong – by the looks of it, he’s just a cranky old man who wants to be left alone in his window seat. A flight attendant asks the woman if she would like to sit elsewhere, which she initially refuses before she eventually asks to sit next to her daughter elsewhere on the plane.
At one point the man is heard to say: “Don’t talk to me in a foreign language, you stupid, ugly cow.” He then threatens her: “If you don’t go to another seat I’ll put you in another seat.”
UPDATE: Please sign these petitions to continue the good fight!https://www.change.org/p/ryanair-apologise-to-compensate-delsie-gayle-for-racist-abuse-on-your-flight https://www.change.org/p/sadiq-khan-boycott-ryanair-for-failure-to-provide-duty-of-care-to-a-passenger-who-was-racially-abused?recruiter=907313332&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition RACIST MAN REFUSES TO SIT NEXT TO ELDERLY BLACK WOMAN on Ryanair flight calling victim an UGLY BLACK BASTARD and Ryanair – DOES NOTHING!!! #Racist #whiteprivilege#ryanair #BLACKHISYORYMONTH #racehate #nationalhatecrimeawarenessweek
Posted by David Lawrence on Friday, 19 October 2018
After the woman agrees to move, the man then calms down. But other passengers can be heard asking why the man has not been removed from the flight for his disgusting behavior.
Ryanair’s head of communications, Robin Kiely, confirmed to BuzzFeed News on Sunday morning that the man has been reported to Essex police.
“We have reported this to the police in Essex and as this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further,” he said.
Incidents of this nature are taken very seriously in the UK, and it is likely that the man could be prosecuted. Citizens of the UK do not have the first amendment or any equivalent, and so they can get into serious legal trouble for things that they say.
Essex police said in an emailed statement: “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.
For the past few days, there has been a lot of speculation as to whether the incident would have been dealt with by police or not. This was down to a number of complicating factors, such as the fact that they were still in Barcelona at the time, aboard a stationery aircraft – it is not immediately obvious in this situation which country’s laws apply.
Now, it’s clear that British police will deal with the situation, and they have appealed for further information around what happened that day.
“We would encourage anyone with information to contact us on 101. You can also contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
The man who filmed the video, David Lawrence, told HuffPost that the altercation took place before a flight took off from Barcelona to Stansted, near London, on Thursday.
Labour MP and shadow transport minister Karl Turner was among those on Twitter who criticised the airline for not removing the man from the flight.
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
The woman, aged 77, is part of the Windrush generation of post-war immigrants to the UK. She had been on holiday to help cope with the death of her husband, her daughter said. This was the last thing she needed on her way home – an unprovoked racial attack from a stranger.
“In a few weeks, it’ll be one year since my dad died and I took my mum away for a few days’ break. My parents were married for over 50 years,” she told HuffPost, which agreed to refer to the woman only as Mrs Gayle.
“She’s been feeling really down and depressed, so I thought the trip would raise her spirits.
“The underlying reason behind the man’s abusive behavior 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.”
She said her mum felt “upset and very stressed about this situation”. I’m not surprised – this is a horrible situation for anyone to be in. Personally, I think the others passengers on the plane should have done more to intervene. What would you have done in this situation, folks?