- A man who was filmed last week shouting racist insults at an elderly black woman on a Ryanair flight appeared on British TV on Friday to defend his actions.
- The man, David Mesher, could be heard in the video yelling obscenities at the woman, whom he said he did not want to sit next to, on the flight from Barcelona, Spain, to London.
- Mesher told “Good Morning Britain” that the event was “just a fit of temper” and that he is “not a racist person by any means.”
- Many people took issue with Ryanair’s response, which was to relocate the woman. Some have threatened to boycott the airline.
- Police in the UK and Spain have said they are investigating what happened.
A man who was filmed shouting racist insults at an elderly black woman on a Ryanair flight last week blamed his actions on a “fit of temper” and denied that he is racist in an interview with “Good Morning Britain” broadcast Friday.
The man, David Mesher, said he is “not a racist person by any means” and that it was “just a fit of temper at the time.”
The man who racially abused an elderly black passenger onboard a Ryanair flight has apologised for his outburst, saying he is not a racist and blaming a fit of temper for the incident which went viral.
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) October 26, 2018
Mesher was identified by news outlets on Wednesday as the man in a video – posted by another passenger, David Lawrence – shouting the insults at Delsie Gayle, 77, who had been assigned the seat next to him for a flight from Barcelona, Spain, to London Stansted Airport on October 19.
He can be heard telling her to move to another seat, saying, “I don’t want to sit next to your face,” and “If you don’t go to another seat, I’ll push you to another seat.” At one point, he can be heard yelling, “Don’t talk to me in a f—ing foreign language, you stupid, ugly cow” and calling her an “ugly, black b——.”
He did not further explain why he did not want to sit next to her. The airline moved Gayle to another seat.
In the TV interview, Mesher said, “I probably lost my temper a bit and ordered her to get up.”
Here’s the video shot by Lawrence. (It contains strong, racist language.)
The footage had nearly 1.4 million views on YouTube as of Friday.
An online petition calling for Ryanair to compensate Gayle for her treatment has so far amassed more than 300,000 signatures.
The petition says: “Ryanair failed to remove the man from the flight or to support Mrs. Gayle. Instead she was made to move seats whilst the man was given a row to himself.”
Several people online have threatened to boycott Ryanair over what they say is the airline’s insufficient response to Mesher.
Mesher apologised to Gayle in the interview on Friday. She and her daughter Carol rejected the apology, the BBC reported on Friday.
Police in Spain and the UK have said they are investigating the incident. Officers have been seen visiting Mesher’s home in Birmingham, England, but have not taken formal action.
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