Will.i.am is putting a Qantas flight attendant on blast, following an onboard incident that ended with police involvement.
The Black Eyed Peas artist took to Twitter on Thursday, claiming he and his crew were targeted by an "overly aggressive flight attendant" during their flight from Brisbane to Sydney. According to TMZ, the incident started after passengers were instructed to put away all electronics as the plane was preparing to land. Will.i.am claims he did not hear the announcement because he had noise-canceling headphones on, and therefore did not put away his laptop. He said the flight attendant eventually asked him to put the device away; and although he complied, the woman allegedly became "out of control" and called the police on him.
Will.i.am initially stated he did not think the flight attendant was racist; but he changed his tune as the tweetstorm continued.
Will.i.am said he was approached by Australian officers shortly after landing, but was ultimately let go because other passengers came to his defense.
He then shared a photo of said flight attendant along with her full name—a move that quickly drew criticism. Entertainment reporter Peter Ford expressed doubt that the situation had anything to do with race, and then criticized Will.i.am for using his platform to intimidate the flight attendant and failing to denounce the subsequent threats she was receiving. The artist insisted it was he was one intimidated and that he was bringing light to the situation to ensure no other minorities would have to endure a similar experience.
Will.i.am also addressed the threats and attacks the flight attendant was receiving, stating he does not condone or support this type of abuse. He did not, however, regret any of his tweets on the matter.
A Qantas representative has released a statement to the Independent, saying the company will follow up with Will.i.am, but does not believe incident was race-related.
"There was a misunderstanding on board, which seems to have been exacerbated by Will.i.am wearing noise-canceling headphones and not being able to hear instructions from crew. We completely reject the suggestion this had anything to do with race. We’ll be following up with will.i.am and wish him well for the rest of the tour."