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Black passengers sue airline over body odor complaint

Eight men were kicked off a flight over alleged “offensive body odor,” according to a lawsuit

Three African-American passengers are suing American Airlines over what they described as “blatant and egregious race discrimination” by the carrier after they were removed from a flight along with five other black men, the media reported on Wednesday.

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in the US District Court of New York, claims that American Airlines employees removed eight black men from the plane over a complaint about “offensive body odor.”

The suit also alleges that the plaintiffs – Alvin Jackson, Emmanuel Jean Joseph and Xavier Veal – and five other African-American male passengers were removed from the plane “without any valid reason, based solely on their race,” according to the complaint.

The three men, who were reportedly not seated together and did not know each other, said that every black man was removed from the January 5 flight from Phoenix, Arizona, to New York.

“American Airlines singled us out for being Black, embarrassed us, and humiliated us,” the men said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The lawsuit claims that none of the plaintiffs were told that they had an offensive smell, “and in fact none of the plaintiffs had offensive body odor.”

Cell phone footage taken by some of the men displayed a group of black people at the gate being removed from the flight. Another video shows the men questioning the airline’s decision, with one man saying, “so this is discrimination.”

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At some point a woman who appears to be an airline employee says: “I agree. I do not disagree with you.”

The lawsuit states that the men were held in the jetway temporarily before being moved to the gate area to be rebooked on another flight to New York.

The suit alleges that an American Airlines employee indicated that the complaint about body odor came from a “white male flight attendant.”

The men were eventually allowed to re-board their original flight when it was determined there were no other available flights.

During the flight they had to “endure the stares of the largely white passengers who viewed them as the cause of the substantial delay,” according to the complaint, which added that the “entire incident was traumatic, upsetting, scary, humiliating, and degrading.”

American Airlines responded in a statement by saying that it takes “all claims of discrimination very seriously.”

The matter is currently being investigated as the “claims do not reflect our core values or our purpose of caring for people,” the carrier said.

May 30, 2024 at 05:53PM
RT

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