Will.i.am claims that he and his crew were victims of a racist incident, when a misunderstanding led to a flight attendant calling the police on the musician.
The Black Eyed Peas’ front man took to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying he was on a Qantas flight from Brisbane to Sydney when the incident occurred.
The singer was wearing noise-canceling headphones when the standard announcement was made to put away laptops and other electronics. Unable to hear the announcement, the musician said on Twitter that he left his computer out.
Will.i.am said he put his laptop away when the flight attendant asked him directly but said the flight attendant was “beyond rude” and even called the police on him, who were waiting when he landed.
“I did comply quickly and politely, only to be greeted by police,” Will.i.am wrote later. “I think I was targeted.”
Having dubbed her #RacistFlightattendant, Will.i.am said the flight attendant “clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of colour.”
The singer named the flight attendant and posted a photo of her.
In a statement emailed to CNN, the airline said the incident had nothing to do with race.
“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,” the Australian airline said. “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 police later let the musician go, he said.
When other Twitter users pointed out that the flight attendant was being subjected to online abuse, the singer urged his 12.8 million followers on Twitter not to engage in that behavior.
“Please do not send Hate…This type of disrespect and name calling is uncalled for…I don’t support abuse & attacks like this…I hope that everyone can be more compassionate & understanding towards one another…because it was the lack of compassion that caused this,” he wrote.
Black Eyed Peas are in Australia as a part of the band’s 2019-20 world tour.