Monday, June 24, 2024

Eight Black Men Removed from American Airlines Flight Over Alleged ‘Offensive Body Odor’ Complaint – 3 File Lawsuit | WATCH

*Three Black passengers are suing American Airlines, claiming they were removed from a flight due to a racially biased complaint about “offensive body odor.” The lawsuit, filed today (05-29-24) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, details the incident on American Airlines Flight 832 from Phoenix to New York in January.

Emmanuel Jean Joseph, Alvin Jackson, and Xavier Veal allege that as the flight was boarding, airline personnel removed eight Black men, who did not know each other, from the plane. They also note that these men were the only Black passengers on the flight.

The plaintiffs argue that up until boarding, no American Airlines employees had approached them about any offensive odor during their preceding flight from Los Angeles. Jean Joseph recounted to CBS News senior transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave that as he gathered his belongings and walked to the jet bridge, he noticed that only Black men were being removed from the flight.

“I started freaking out,” Xavier Veal said, noting that he decided to record the incident on his phone.

Three Black Men Sue American Airlines (logo) - Depositphotos
American Airlines (logo) – Depositphotos

The lawsuit asserts that the men were confined to the jetway for about an hour before being moved to the gate area, where they were informed they would be rebooked on another flight to New York later that day. However, no alternate flight was found, leading American Airlines to reboard them on the original flight. A gate agent reportedly agreed that race was a factor in their removal, revealing that a white male flight attendant had made the initial complaint.

The incident left the plaintiffs feeling humiliated and scrutinized by other passengers upon their return to the flight. Jean Joseph shared his anxiety, knowing that the predominantly White passengers would blame them for the delay. Jackson echoed this discomfort, describing the staring and tension they felt.

Attorney Sue Huhta emphasized that the plaintiffs’ removal appears to be racially motivated, citing other recent incidents involving American Airlines. The lawsuit references a 2017 NAACP travel advisory against the airline that was lifted eight months later. CBS Legal Analyst Rikki Klieman suggested that the plaintiffs might aim more to bring attention to racial discrimination than to seek financial restitution, focusing on American Airlines’ protocols and employee training.

In response, American Airlines acknowledged the gravity of discrimination claims and stated an ongoing investigation into the matter, stressing that such actions do not align with their core values.

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