Wale says he was kicked off a plane for using his phone

July 25, 2013

Updated 9:30 a.m.

Doesn’t matter if you have one of the top-selling albums in the country — the rules of the skies still apply to you, too, Wale. (At least as long as you’re flying commercial.)

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 18: Ralph Victor Folarin, better known by his stage name, Wale, is photographed in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, May 18, 2013. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)
(Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

The D.C.-bred rapper, whose “The Gifted” debuted at No. 1 this month, says he was kicked off a New York-bound American Airlines flight in Raleigh-Durham Tuesday night. This according to a blow-by-blow of the incident he outlined on Twitter.

“Got put off the plane,” he wrote just before 11 p.m. “For having my phone on.” (He added later that “it was off. Honestly.”)

The details remain hazy: Wale’s rep did not return our email, and his tour manager told us, “I wasn’t there,” before quickly getting off the phone.

Not that it’s hard to fathom: In his own telling, the story seemed to mirror Alec Baldwin’s testy account of being removed from an AA flight in 2011 — later confirmed by the airlines — after he kept his phone on after a warning from flight crew.

A rep for American Airlines said he could not discuss incidents involving passengers. A flight from Atlanta to LaGuardia was diverted to Raleigh-Durham that night because of two disruptive passengers, he confirmed. But while Wale was recently in Atlanta, and the diverted flight’s departure and arrivals corresponded roughly with his own Twitter timeline, it was not immediately clear if that was his flight.

(Update, 9:30 a.m.: If the diverted flight was the one Wale was on, sounds like someone else was implicated as the primary troublemaker. Airport officials said Thursday that only one person from that flight — a woman — was arrested. In another tweet, Wale indicated that two passengers other than himself also got in trouble with his flight crew.)

Though Wale implied in a tweet that law enforcement interacted with him — “The pilot and I were havin a civil [conversation] until the police showed up. THAT’S when he started yellin and gettin aggressive” — a spokeswoman for the Raleigh-Durham International Airport said Wednesday she did not have an arrest report for anyone by his name and therefore no more immediate information.

And it’s pretty clear that Wale did not end up detained, since subsequent texts suggest he was busy making alternate plans: “Where the party at in Raleigh tonight?”

The star was headed overseas, due to perform in Oslo Thursday night.

Earlier: D.C.’s Wale wrestles with fame and anxiety, 6/22/13

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