Sha’Carri Richardson says she was removed from an American Airlines flight due to an argument with an “unprofessional” flight attendant.
On Instagram, the 22-year-old track and field star said a male flight attendant rudely asked her to turn off her phone before takeoff. As he was conducting a safety protocol, Richardson claimed the flight attendant “leaned over” to look at her phone several times.
“He asked to see that my phones were in airplane mode at this point. He demanded that I show him. Which I did in front of him,” her Instagram story read, according to NBC News.
During the exchange, Richardson alleged that the man “threatened” her and put his hands in her face.
In one video, which allegedly captures what happened after the altercation, Richardson can be seen taking a video of herself.
“Not working today,” she says. “Vacation time.”
The record-breaking sprinter then pans the phone over to the flight attendant, who backs away from the camera.
“I’m recording me but you jumped in my video so I caught you because you jumped in my video,” she says. “You can’t record,” the flight attendant replies, to which Richardson responds:
“You’re harassing me at this point so I think you should stop, I think you should stop.” It’s unclear where Richardson was flying to.
A second video shows the moment Sha’Carri Richardson was asked to leave the plane
Richardson posted another video showing what happened moments before she was removed from the flight.
In the clip, the Texas native explains that she did not like the flight attendant’s tone and demeanor.
“I definitely would have listened to instructions but the way he was talking to me was very unprofessional and then his hands were all in my face,” Richardson explains. In the background, an annoyed passenger can be heard, blaming the athlete for missing his connecting flight.
“Oh, so you’re worried about a connection while a grown man is disrespecting me?” Richardson responds.
“I don’t give a s—,” the passenger says before calling Richardson selfish. Then, another flight crew member approaches Richardson and tells her that she’s being asked to leave the plane.
“Does the captain know the situation that happened before removing me?” she says. “So do they know this man hands was all up in my face and he was very disrespectful and I felt threatened?”
In her Instagram caption, Richardson said she was thinking about taking legal action against the staff. She felt like they did nothing to help the situation.
“And this flight attendant has to applause when I exited the plane when I’m pretty serious the disrespect I received would not have happened if I was a one of them,” she wrote. “One of them even stated good luck with your ban,” Richardson alleged.
Shortly after the incident went viral, American Airlines released a statement that said, “We accommodated the customer on a later flight and a member of our team has reached out to learn more.”
Sha’Carri Richardson opens up to Teen Vogue about her Olympic suspension
Back in July 2021, Richardson was suspended from the Tokyo Olympics after she tested positive for marijuana. The IOC delivered the devastating blow right after her history-making performance at the Olympic Pre-Trials, where she blazed through the 100-meter dash in 10.86 seconds. The record-breaking speed secured her spot on Team USA, but Richardson never had a chance to live up to her stardom following the incident.
During an interview with Teen Vogue, the famous sprinter said that the entire situation taught her the power of self-reflection.
“I have to be grounded,” she said, according to the interview, per BOSSIP.
“How I show myself forgiveness is honestly by acknowledging it first, acknowledging the situation for what it is, acknowledging my responsibilities in it, and talking about it to the people I feel like it impacted besides myself,” she explained.
”When I had the entire situation of being banned from the Tokyo Games, the people who I talked to first were the people who I felt like were with me the most on the journey. I apologized to them first. I felt like they had to hold my shame as well, in a way — or my guilt, in a way. Acknowledging them made me feel like it was okay within myself…and [I] actually allowed myself to feel those emotions. That whole situation was a very big growing and touching experience for me and my community.”
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