Man who filmed ‘racist’ incident on Ryanair flight does not regret it

Man who filmed ‘racist’ incident on Ryanair flight does not regret it

Still from video of a passenger on a Ryanair flight who verbally abused the woman in the seat next to him. Image: David Lawrence/PA Wire

Monday, October 22, 2018

A man who filmed a viral ‘racist’ incident on a Ryanair flight said he chose not to intervene so that he could publicise what happened.

David Lawrence filmed a man verbally abusing a fellow passenger, calling her an “ugly black b*****d, whilst other passengers tried to intervene.

The woman was eventually moved, but the man was not removed from the flight.

Mr Lawrence said that because of him filming, “now the world knows” what happened.

He told BBC Breakfast: "I had to make a difficult decision at that time because if I had stepped in I don't think you would have seen the footage that I captured."


'Racial abuse is abhorrent' 

Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman declined to comment on the specific case, but told reporters: "When people are travelling and going about their public life, no-one should be subjected to intimidation or any form of abuse.

"The Prime Minister has always been clear that racial abuse is abhorrent.

"In relation to this particular case, there's obviously an investigation being conducted by Essex Police and it's right that I don't comment specifically on that."

The video, recorded on October 19 on flight FR015 from Barcelona to London Stansted before the plane had taken off, shows a man shouting at a woman telling her to move seats while her daughter tries to stand up to him, telling him her mother is disabled.

He said: "I don't care whether she's f****** disabled or not - if I tell her to get out she gets out."

In the video the man can be heard calling the elderly woman an "ugly black b******", and shouting "don't talk to me in a foreign language you stupid ugly cow".


'People need to step forward'

Weyman Bennett, co-convenor of Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism, told Mike Graham on talkRADIO’s breakfast show: “I think that was a disgusting incident, the man’s a bully and a coward.

“What surprised me is that Ryanair did not remove the man, and removed the woman who was the subject of the abuse and made her sit somewhere else."

Mr Bennett added: “The idea that the man gets away with it scot-free, I find difficult to stomach.

“I’ve been on planes where people have been removed for less. They can’t hide behind the veil of ‘we didn’t know what to do’. The minimum should be an apology.”


Ryanair tweeted on Sunday that they had reported the incident to Essex Police.

It added: "As this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further."

A spokeswoman for Essex police said on Sunday: "Essex Police takes prejudice-based crime seriously and we want all incidents to be reported.

"We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation."