Airliner Ryanair is under fire for allegedly ignoring a passenger who went on a racially charged rant against an elderly black woman.
Video footage of the incident went viral after it was uploaded to social media. The Ryanair plane was heading from Barcelona to London on Oct. 15.
The man who went on the tirade was allowed to stay in his seat, and the woman was moved elsewhere. The man has not been identified.
The BBC reported that the incident has been referred to the Essex Police in the United Kingdom.
“Don’t talk to me in a foreign language, you stupid ugly cow,” the man can be heard saying in the video. He also says: “I don’t care whether she’s [expletive] disabled or not; if I tell her to get out, she gets out.” He also calls the woman an “ugly black [expletive].”
“I tell you this: If you don’t go to another seat, I’ll put you to another seat,” he said at one point.
Statement: We are aware of this video and have reported this matter to Essex Police
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) October 21, 2018
A Ryanair attendant then tells the man, “Don’t be so rude, you have to calm down.”
In a statement, Ryanair responded to the BBC, “We operate strict guidelines for disruptive passengers and we will not tolerate unruly behavior like this.”
“We will be taking this matter further and disruptive or abusive behavior like this will result in passengers being banned from travel,” the airliner also stated.
Essex Police also told the BBC on Oct. 21: “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.”
Politicians Sound Off
The UK transport secretary, Chris Grayling, told the Guardian that the incident was “totally unacceptable” and he hoped that the “police would want to take action in such an extraordinarily unacceptable case.”
Theresa May’s official spokesman told the paper: “When people are traveling and going about their public life, no one should be subjected to intimidation or any form of abuse.”
The spokesman added: “The prime minister has always been clear that racial abuse is abhorrent. In relation to this particular case, there’s obviously an investigation being conducted by Essex police and it’s right that I don’t comment specifically on that.”
On social media, people tweeted that Ryanair should be boycotted for not doing enough.
The daughter of the woman in the video said that she wants an apology from Ryanair.
“I don’t know how to go forward or where to take this,” she was quoted by Fox News as saying. “I’m not even sure what I want done to resolve the situation, beyond an open apology to my mother for the way that the things were handled.”