Ryanair incident: Video of racist passenger sparks criticism

Ryanair is facing criticism after a video posted online apparently shows the airline’s crew failing to take action to remove a passenger who launched a racist tirade against a fellow traveler.

The video, uploaded to social media by Briton David Lawrence, showed a man hurling racist insults at an elderly black woman sitting in the same row and demanding she move seats onboard a flight from Barcelona to London on Friday.

It wasn’t clear what had prompted the quarrel. Lawrence told ITV the man abused both the woman and her daughter, but flight attendants failed to eject him from the flight.

In the video, the man can be heard to call her an “ugly cow” and tells her not to speak to him in a “foreign language.” He also called the woman an “ugly black bastard,” according to the Huffington Post. Some consumers called for a boycott of the budget airline.

The elderly woman eventually said she wanted to sit next to her daughter, and moved into another row. The video has been viewed more than 4.7 million times on Facebook. 

The woman who was the focus on the man’s abuse is a 77-year-old retiree who was returning to Britain after marking the anniversary of her husband’s death, according to the Huffington Post UK. The flight was from Barcelona to London on Friday. 

“She’s been feeling really down and depressed, so I thought the trip would raise her spirits,” the woman’s daughter told the publication. She wasn’t identified. “The underlying reason behind the man’s abusive behaviour comes down to the fact that my mum is a black woman and he didn’t want her sitting next to him – he says it in the video.”

The airline tweeted Sunday that it had seen the footage and reported the incident to police. It didn’t provide further comment.

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