The Veronicas have jumped to Will.i.am’s defence after he accused a Qantas staffer of ‘racism’ during a flight from Brisbane to Sydney on Saturday.
The Black Eyed Peas star’s woes began when he accused an ‘overly aggressive flight attendant’ of targeting ‘all her frustrations only at the people of colour’ as the domestic flight was preparing to land.
“I don’t want to believe she racist,” he wrote on Twitter, adding “Me and my group have experienced they worse service due to a overly aggressive flight attendant.”
I’m currently on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney.— will.i.am (@iamwill) November 16, 2019
I’m sorry to say me and my group have experienced they worse service due to a overly aggressive flight attendant...
I don’t want to believe she racist.
But she has clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of colour
Stars’ similar saga
Now, pop duo Jess and Lisa Origliasso have claimed the Qantas staffer at the centre of the scandal was the one of the flight attendants they verbally collided with on board another flight in September.
“We feel sickened she was given no reprisal and has instead continued to abuse her position, discriminate and misuse the full force and intimidation of the Australian Federal Police to her agenda,” they wrote in a statement.
“In this case to menace will.i.am and other [people of colour] on this flight.”
The duo went on to point out neither situation was escalated further by police and instead was left to be handled by the airline alone.
“Qantas should have run a genuine investigation into the matter, instead of shifting blame and denying accountability,' they said.
“This should never have been allowed to happen.”
Will.i.am snapped in Sydney
The American star—who’s also a coach on The Voice UK—was later pictured looking sullen at Sydney Airport, soon after he was escorted from the flight by authorities.
He also went on to liken the treatment received by staff on board as akin to ‘a police state’ and told followers a ‘proper complaint’ about the incident had already been filed.
Will.i.am later explained how problems first arose after he wasn't able to hear instructions over the PA because of his noise cancelling headphones.
“I was intimidated by five 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?” he asked in another tweet.
“What did I do wrong? I wasn’t out of hand... I was polite & did what she asked.”
Backing up the claims
Fellow passenger Kate Selwy claims she was on the same flight and tweeted her support for the musician.
“I was on the same flight and couldn’t believe the appalling behaviour of the flight attendant. My apologies on behalf of Australia,” she wrote.
Qantas Australia told Yahoo Australia in a statement the incident 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. We’ll be following up with will.i.am and wish him well for the rest of the tour,” the spokesperson said.
Got a story tip or just want to get in touch? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or sign up to our daily newsletter here.