Photo Credit: Ross Sokolovski
American Airlines Boots Sha’Carri Richardson From Flight After Dispute With Flight Attendant
There was contention recently between an American Airlines flight attendant (referred to only as “John”) and track athlete Sha’Carri Richardson.
In two videos shared by Richardson on Instagram, she repeatedly claimed that John spoke to her in a disrespectful manner. She said he had an issue with her using her phone. While there may have been disrespect and even discrimination at play, the incident concluded with her removal from the aircraft.
This isn’t the first time Richardson has made the news in recent years. In June 2021, she stunned with her breakneck speed and flamboyant style, reminiscent of Florence Griffith-Joyner. With orange hair flying behind her, Richardson won the women’s 100-meter final at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. She was going to participate in the Tokyo Olympics, only to be disqualified following a positive marijuana test.
According to The New York Times, “Richardson blamed the positive test on her use of marijuana as a way to cope with the unexpected death of her biological mother while she was in Oregon for the Olympic trials. Richardson said she learned about the death from a reporter during an interview.”
The Disagreement Was Over Richardson's Phone Use On Board
In the first video, Richardson is seen wearing a mask and recording herself.
“Probably not working today,” she says. “Vacation time.”
A male flight attendant appears in the video, prompting Richardson to snap, “I’m recording me, but you jumped in my video. You’re harassing me at this point- I think you should stop.”
This triggers a buzz from the other passengers, and she says to them, “Y’all see him right? Y’all see him right?”
Next, she berates an unseen person: “Don’t talk to me like that! I’m an adult, don’t talk to me like that. If you don’t know what’s going on don’t yell at me.”
At another point, Richardson really loses her cool and says, “Who the fu*k do you think you’re talking to?” shortly before the video ends.
The Disagreement Escalated And Others Got Involved
In the second video, Richardson positions the phone so that it’s angled up on the tray table.
“I definitely would have listened to his instructions, but the way he was talking to me was very unprofessional,” she tells an unseen person. “And then his hands were all in my face. If I’m getting off the plane, he needs to get off, too.”
One passenger complained about possibly missing his connecting flight.
“Oh, so you’re worried about a connection while a grown man is disrespecting me?!” Richardson retorts.
She turns the camera so that “John” is visible. She accuses him of “jumping in my video, and invading my privacy.”
“Y’all have no idea who I am,” Richardson says to everyone as she collects her things to leave.
Passengers are heard applauding as she leaves the aircraft.
Richardson Is Considering Legal Action
Richardson wrote a long Instagram caption, and here’s part of it.
“Tell me if I’ll be wrong to pursue legal actions against [American Airlines]. Not only did the man threaten me, but also an innocent bystander who simply just wanted a picture with me.”
“In the beginning of the video, you can hear a caucasian male state that he doesn’t give a F as a man that a male flight attendant is intimidating a woman.”
She added that the captain was doing nothing to alleviate the situation, and encouraged her followers to tag American Airlines.
The Instagram Comments Section Was On Fire
The majority of those who commented on Instagram sided with Richardson.
“This is why I hate flying American Airlines- the service is trash,” wrote Brefitness.
Dylan Gonzalez went even deeper.
“The discrimination and disrespect is obvious and intentional! This sh*t makes me so upset, it’s not right, these mfkers take pride in this sh*t because it’s the only way they know how to feel powerful over us.”
However, a few people sided with the airline.
“Please just follow the rules,” wrote one user. “You’re not special!”
Then there were people like Snkrrbar who fell somewhere in the middle.
“This is the thing- they were wrong, but you lost your composure. If you would have bowed out gracefully, this story would be one sided AF. Insulting people as you exit the plane made me not so upset they removed you.”