YouTube prank star Adam Saleh and his friend Slim Albaher are making headlines after they were kicked off a Delta flight yesterday.
According to Saleh, he was simply talking to his mother on the phone in Arabic. “Guys, we spoke a different language on the plane, and now we’re getting kicked out,” he says, in a video of the incident posted to his Twitter. “I cannot believe my eyes. I spoke a different language and you feel uncomfortable?”
Delta says he wasn’t kicked out for speaking on the phone, but rather for disrupting the cabin. “Based on the information collected to date, it appears the customers who were removed sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting,” the statement said.
“He stood up and started shouting with his fist in the air, shouting something that sounded remotely Arabic – for no reason, sat down, a few minutes past, and then he was up again,” one passenger reported, saying Saleh continued with this behavior three times.
A history of fake pranks
Saleh has a long history of race-involved “pranking.” A video he made in late 2014 showed a police officer harassing him and a friend for wearing traditional Arabic clothing. The video was later proven fake, and the police officer proven to be a paid actor.
In 2013, Saleh sympathized with Jahar Tsarnaev, the man who planted bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Saleh has a history of perpetuating 9/11 conspiracy theories too, with a multitude of tweets on the topic dating up to 2015.
This isn’t Saleh’s first encounter with airline-related pranks, either. Just last week, he posted a video entitled “I smuggled myself on a plane to another city and it worked!! (in a suitcase)“. The video was quickly debunked by the airline, Tiger Air. “Had you been in the baggage hold, by the time you arrived in Sydney, you would have been a popsicle,” an airline spokesperson said.
@omgAdamSaleh Nice try Adam, but definitely a few inconsistencies with this vid, namely the fact we have footage of you boarding the plane!
— Tigerair Australia (@TigerairAU) December 14, 2016
The story changes
After the media began to report on Saleh’s history of fake pranks and delirium, their story shifted. A video was posted to Saleh’s channel with the updated narrative.
“This whole problem was me getting kicked off, and Adam was just there with me,” Albaher said. “This is my cause.”
His fellow YouTubers have spoken out; some in support, others in distrust.
Ayo @omgAdamSaleh be very careful what you are doing. You are playing with fire. This a multi billion dollar company you are poking.
— Jesse (@Jessewelle) December 21, 2016
I don’t trust Adam Saleh pic.twitter.com/7AjW7Uz3Wd
— KEEM ? (@KEEMSTAR) December 21, 2016
i've texted & been on the phone with @omgAdamSaleh today. just because i don't tweet about it doesn't mean i'm not involved with support. ❤
— Yousef Saleh Erakat (@fouseyTUBE) December 22, 2016
Fake pranksters typically create their over-the-top videos with hope of them going viral and garnering media attention, much like this story has. Since the incident occurred, Saleh has gained nearly 100,000 Twitter followers & over 80,000 YouTube subscribers.