Australia’s Qantas on Monday rejected accusations of in-flight racism from US performer will.i.am, with the airline saying it would back legal action against the Black Eyed Peas frontman.
The multiple Grammy-winning artist had lashed out at a Qantas flight attendant and named her on Twitter after she called the police over an altercation during a flight from Brisbane to Sydney.
In his tweets, the star said the crew member had been “overly aggressive” and unnecessarily escalated the situation after he didn’t hear an on-board safety briefing because he was wearing headphones.
Using the hashtag #RacistFlightAttendant, he said she was “beyond rude” and “took it to the next level by calling the police”, five of whom were waiting for him when the 90-minute flight landed on Saturday.
“Thank god the other passengers testified that SHE was out of control,” tweeted William Adams, better known by his stage name will.i.am, adding that the police had “finally” let him go.
He said he had complied “quickly & politely” with instructions from the woman to put his laptop away.
“I don’t want to believe she racist. But she has clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of colour,” he wrote.
A spokesman for the Australian flag carrier said Qantas “completely” rejected the suggestion that race was a factor in the incident.
“There was a misunderstanding on board, which seems to have been exacerbated by will.i.am wearing noise-cancelling headphones and not being able to hear instructions from crew,” he said.
The airline initially said over the weekend that it would be “following up with will.i.am and wish him well for the rest of the tour”.
But on Monday a spokesman said the airline would be willing to support legal action against the star.
“Absent a retraction, and if the crew member wanted to take the matter further, we’d certainly be willing to provide legal support for them to do this,” he said.
Australia has extremely strict defamation laws and courts routinely rule in favour of those claiming reputational damage.
Black Eyed Peas ended a five-city Australia tour with a concert in Sydney on Saturday.
The incident came two months after Australian twin-sister pop duo The Veronicas were removed from a Qantas flight by police after a disagreement with staff over luggage.
© 2019 AFP
Trump brings up Brett Kavanaugh in rage tweet at Democrats about coming impeachment trial
On Saturday, President Donald Trump brought up Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in a bizarre rant against the "Radical Left, Do Nothing Dems" and his anger over the direction of the impeachment process:
After watching the disgraceful way that a wonderful man, @BrettKavanaugh, was treated by the Democrats, and now seeing first hand how these same Radical Left, Do Nothing Dems are treating the whole Impeachment Hoax, I understand why so many Dems are voting Republican!
McConnell’s impeachment collusion admission handed the Democrats a powerful new weapon to damage the president
Mitch McConnell's admission on Fox News that he is working behind the scenes with the White House to stack the Senate impeachment trial gives Democrats a potent weapon against the GOP, wrote Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman in the Washington Post.
"If Democrats play their procedural cards right, they can pressure Republicans to allow for a much fairer and more open trial that could actually produce new revelations — and if they refuse, extract a political price for it," they wrote.
McConnell bluntly defends working with Trump to undermine impeachment: ‘We’re on the same side’
Speaking in Kentucky on Friday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blithely blew off concerns about coordinating with Donald Trump's White House on how to handle the president's defense in the expected impeachment trial.
One day after admitting on Fox News that he was working hand-in-hand with the White House on impeachment tactics, McConnell was very blunt about his motivations when asked about his admission.
In a clip shared by MSNBC, the Senate leader was pressed about his plans.
"You told Sean Hannity last night you were coordinating with the White House when it comes to impeachment. Why is that appropriate?" McConnell was asked.