Fake news isn’t going away

If you saw this video of a man being thrown off a Delta flight for speaking Arabic, you’ve probably been had. That video has sparked calls to boycott Delta Airlines, and while I have very little sympathy for that crappy airline, it seems to be unwarranted. The guy starring in and responsible for making the video is a known youtube prankster, who has staged racial profiling events in the past.

This is contemptible. There are real examples of bigotry and discrimination going on, and Adam Saleh has found a way to profit from fake racism while also discrediting genuine problems.


  1. says

    even Allah Auckbar, however you spell it, is enough to create fear among your citizens on air planes, just as “Hi Jack” once did.

    There were two people creating a disturbance and they were both thrown off. One took offense at something that was said. We need to here from that other fellow also.

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    is ad hominem us backwards in reverse upside down???
    do we immediately write him off as fake because he has a reputation of being a prankster, even if the incident actually happened, and being a videographer he had all the implements to record the incident for evidence?
    I feel stuck between rock and harder place. Damn
    Delta has a reputation of throwing minority people off due to posse reaction of the majority passengers ( euphemism for “bigotry”)
    This alleged victim has an awful reputation, so do we immediately disbelieve him?
    I’m stuck. shit. *spit*

  3. says

    I have been racially profiled and subject to harassment by an immigration official. It does happen. I also traveled with a Muslim on an interstate flight. When we arrived at check in my luggage was selected for extra screening After exhaustive checks and frisking I was allowed to board. By this time we were surrounded by several police. On arriving at our destination instead of taxiing to the terminal we had to alight on the tarmac and were met by a team of police and our luggage was unpacked and searched and we were both interrogated for nearly an hour before being allowed to go.

    The immigration official that harassed me was an Australian official working at Kuala Lumpur airport. She flashed her pass and pushed her way through the queue waiting to clear security. When I cleared she waved me aside, demanded to see my passport and detained me for 5-10 mins as she flicked through it questioning me about my travels. She asked me about the origin of my name and was surprised when I told her it was Irish. When I enquired further she said her cousin had a similar surname and the penny dropped. My surname is similar to a Bosnian surname and she was a Serbian Australian. She had used her official position to give someone she thought was Bosnian a hard time. Back in Australia I reported my treatment and was told it was government policy because Chinese nationals were using Kuala Lumpur as a transit point to illegally enter Australia using forged Australian passports. Yeah right I am as white as they come, have a large bushy beard and my Australian accent is so thick I need an interpreter to understand my English.

  4. multitool says

    I think if you cry wolf enough times, and the wolf eats you, you fucked yourself.

    If it’s a true story, Delta will do it again to more credible people, and there will no longer be room for doubt.

  5. robro says

    Snopes rates this story as “Unproven” at this point. I’m confident the king of fake news, Fox, will make hay from this.

    There is another story from 2011 of two imams being ejected from a Delta Connection flight, operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines, because the pilot thought they would make the passengers uncomfortable. Can’t say whether Flying With Fish is a reliable source of information.

  6. DanDare says

    It seems reasonable to consider that he intended to get himself thrown off the plane and to film it. It’s reasonable to consider that what he did was more inflammatory than just speaking in Arabic.
    That doesn’t mean that such stupid bigotry doesn’t exist and doesn’t make the examples of it invalid. But by faking an incident and twisting the report he is making it much harder to deal with the real issue.

  7. Holms says

    Here’s the same dickhead pretending to make a flight from Melbourne to Sydney while stowed away in luggage. Personally, I have a dim view of all ‘prankster’ channels, seeing them as nothing more tham liars for money. Worse though is the damage they do to the thing supposedly bing documented: this is a gift for all people sceptical of there being prejudice against arabs / muslims.

  8. says

    If it’s a true story, Delta will do it again to more credible people, and there will no longer be room for doubt.

    But that’s the problem: It has happened before, it will happen again, but it will be immediately dismissed as a prank. Just like in discussions of rape you get the same two or three false accusations thrown at you.

  9. Chancellor says

    This guy is one reason why I’m thankful I didn’t delve into the YouTube scene. Pranksters (on utube) are just the most annoying kind.

    I do believe he irritated some racists though, the passenger that came to his aid as a stranger was actually one of his friends from some of his other vids that always takes on said role in the act he puts on for his vids which further swipes at the validity of this event.

    Delta is known trash though, which made this story take off with all the more pace from well meaning people.

    Anyone who acts like what some idiotic utuber did as a prank should be used as a measuring stick for the very real phenomenon of discrimination anyone who speaks Arabic receives in the world needs to realign why they feel that way.

  10. says

    Ah, prank. The unfunny side of humor. I never liked pranks (including april fool), and never will. Mild pranks and teasing might have some fun value among very, very close and good friends, but they mostly they are just assholism masquerading as fun.

  11. tkreacher says

    I’ve had a genuine disdain for that Youtuber due to the blisteringly obvious falsity of his videos, which, Trump-like, somehow convince millions of people they are real.

    He’s the same guy who faked being harassed by police because he was wearing traditional clothing. It was outed as fake and he just put a disclaimer up, after millions had viewed and believed it, that it was a “dramatization”. He also claimed to be in the JFK airport “shooting” that turned out not to be any kind of shooting. But he played it up as if he were super close to a war zone or something before it came out that it was a false alarm, and nothing happened.

    Of course he did the baggage “prank”, though, pretending to have done something you didn’t do and pass it off as real, only to be proven a liar, and then claiming that it was just for “entertainment” isn’t a “prank”.

    I just hate liars-for-money, and it seems like it’s something that is becoming more and more viable, despite people having more and more access to information.

    I’ve seen a video where he was on a flight and he was talking about counting down loudly in Arabic. His friend was telling him not to, but it was clear he wanted to do a “social experiment” where he was trying to antagonize people to react so he could then blame it on anti-Muslim sentiment for views. The problem is, he does shit that is disruptive and odd coming from anyone, which doesn’t prove the actually valid thesis that many people are racist.

    Meh, I hate this guy.

  12. kellym says

    From this article :

    “People keep using the fact that we’re pranksters against us,” Albaher said. “I feel like this is the boy who cried wolf.”

    Yes, that’s how that story works. Also, none of the passengers on the plane back up his story and quite a few dispute it.