A Ryanair passenger who was filmed hurling racist abuse on-board a flight may “get away with it” due to the airline wanting to get the plane off the ground, a shadow transport minister said.
The shocking footage, which went viral over the weekend, sees an elderly white man racially abusing a black woman sitting next to him during a flight from Barcelona to Stansted Airport on October 18th.
The man can be heard calling her a “ugly black b******”, and shouting “don’t talk to me in a foreign language you stupid ugly cow” when she spoke to him in English with a Jamaican accent.
Since the video was shared online, Ryanair has come under intense criticism for doing little to prevent the man inflicting the tirade of abuse.
Labour MP for East Hull Karl Turner said the budget airline had ‘failed spectacularly’ in not removing the man from the flight, but commented that he may end up getting away with it.
The qualified barrister and once Labour shadow attorney general, tweeted:
‘Suspect the pressure to turn this aircraft around quickly and get it airborne meant that they have allowed this alleged offender to remain on the aircraft. He may now get away with it.’
‘@Ryanair failure to deplane the alleged racist offender, handing him over to the Spanish authorities probably means that he isn’t now prosecuted.’
‘Unfortunately because @Ryanair is registered in Dublin not in the UK the alleged offence could only be tried by UK authorities if it was “in flight” to the UK. Section 92(1) Civil Aviation Act s.92(4) defines ‘in flight’. ‘If this incident had have happened on an alternative airline under “British Control” or it was already “in flight” to the UK the prosecuting authorities could have prosecuted.’
After watching the video, many people were appalled that Ryanair had reportedly asked the lady – who has since been identified as 77-year-old Mrs Gayle from East London – to move seats instead of the man.
Ryanair issued a statement on Sunday saying they had reported the incident to police:
It’s been a torrid few days for the Irish airline, as not only have they just announced a 7% slump in profits, but many are calling for people to boycott them altogether following the racist incident:
Essex Police have confirmed that they are investigating the incident:
Images via Facebook/David Lawrence/YouTube