Black Eyed Peas singer will.i.am took to Twitter on Friday to detail an experience on a Qantas Airways flight that he called racist — and now faces backlash of his own.
According to the singer, the incident occurred on a trip that day from Brisbane to Sydney, after he was using noise-canceling headphones during the flight-safety announcements.
Will.i.am said the flight attendant escalated the interaction by calling the police, who met him after the flight landed, even though he said he complied with instructions to put his laptop away.
“I was intimidated by 5 police officers when I landed...for what? I put away my laptop when she asked...why would she feel threatened by me to call the police? What did I do wrong? I wasn’t out of hand.. I was polite & did what she asked... now you’re asking me to take abuse?” will.i.am tweeted.
After initially tweeting that he didn’t “want to believe she racist,” will.i.am sent a series of tweets accusing the flight attendant of being exactly that — and identified her by name, which drew a swift rebuke on Twitter. He also tweeted at the airline with the hashtag “#racistflightattendant.”
Qantas responded to the incident Saturday with a statement to The Post, saying: “There was a misunderstanding on board, which seems to have been exacerbated by will.i.am wearing noise cancelling headphones and not being able to hear instructions from crew.
“We completely reject the suggestion this had anything to do with race.”
Some observers accused will.i.am of abusing his platform of more than 12 million Twitter followers to direct hate at a person simply doing her job.
In response, the Grammy Award winner claimed that he didn’t intend for anyone to target the flight attendant and said that he was speaking for others by calling out wrongdoing.
“I am posting so that this doesn’t happen again...it shouldn’t happen to a Aboriginal, Latino, African, LGBTQ White, Red or anyone... everyone deserves to be treated with respect...,” will.i.am tweeted.