Today’s top trending video on Facebook is an absolute hoax Today’s top trending video on Facebook is an absolute hoax

Today’s top trending video on Facebook is an absolute hoax

The YouTube celebrity who was kicked off a Delta flight did not have an amazing day today. But he definitely has a history of pulling pranks on airplanes.

To be clear, what allegedly happened to Adam Saleh seems suspect on its surface — according to Saleh, he was told to “speak English” by a fellow passenger while on the phone with his mother, who only speaks Arabic. After Saleh told the passenger he’s free to speak whatever language he wants, the woman’s husband allegedly stood up and screamed at Saleh.

Eventually, according to Saleh’s account to CBS News, the pilot had to sheepishly tell Saleh to leave the plane, as roughly 20 passengers are said to have complained to flight staff that they felt uncomfortable being around him. Delta stated that it booked Saleh on another flight, and that the airline strives to respect people of all cultural backgrounds.

The video of the incident has over 21 million views and counting as of this writing. It’s important to note that none of the accusations Saleh made of his fellow passengers are in this viral video, which only shows Saleh loudly berating white passengers and airport staff, and nearby passengers sympathizing with him.


However, as USA Today pointed out, Saleh is known for intentionally provoking people to intentionally show their discomfort around Muslims and Arabic-speaking people to his millions of viewers, casting doubt on the legitimacy of his story. In one video posted in February, Saleh, who is on a flight, suggests to his friend, Suleiman Albaher, that the two of them should count down in Arabic as a “social experiment” to see what happens. Albaher doesn’t go along with it, but Saleh, who is smiling, loudly counts down from 10 to 1 in Arabic, then pans the camera over to a passenger, who looks obviously uncomfortable.

In a 2013 video called “SPEAKING ARABIC ON A PLANE!” (Saleh’s video titles are all in capital letters) Saleh starts singing a song in Arabic while on a flight from New York to Miami specifically to make his friend — an Arabic-speaking man named Sheikh Akbar, who was subjected to additional security screening — feel uncomfortable.

“Sheikh gets so scared if I speak Arabic at the airport,” Saleh said, before proceeding to sing.

“You’re going to get us in trouble,” Akbar said, attempting to hold his hand over Saleh’s mouth as he keeps singing.

In two other videos, Saleh surreptitiously dons traditional Islamic clothing just before boarding a plane (“ARABS ON A PLANE!!”), and while in the car on the way to the airport (“NEVER WEAR THIS ON A PLANE IN AMERICA!”). In the latter video, Saleh tells his audience he’s on the way to board a flight to Doha, Qatar, and decided to wear his Thawb — a traditional garb for men in predominantly Muslim countries — upon arriving to the JFK Airport in New York, despite a friend of his pleading with him to not do it.

Saleh’s YouTube page, which has over 2 million subscribers, features thousands of videos in which he plays pranks on people, usually strangers, and sometimes strangers at airports, to see what their reaction will be. In one viral video, Saleh “smuggles” himself into a suitcase and boards the cargo area of the plane with the rest of the luggage. The first time, Saleh smuggled himself to another city. In another video, Saleh posts about how he was subjected to a “random security check,” and suggested it was due to him being a Muslim that he was scrutinized at a higher level.

Saleh also stages scenes of racial profiling in order to document how others in the area react. A video posted in June of this year shows Saleh pulling a hijab off of a willing volunteer to see if anyone in the surrounding area would intervene. Saleh said he did this because his mother once had her hijab removed by a stranger in public in 2004, while nobody came to her aid.

Before Saleh rose to stardom in the YouTube realm, his channel’s earliest videos show Saleh’s affinity for making bystanders feel uncomfortable in public, usually by propositioning women on the spot while they were with their significant others, and ignoring their polite requests for him to walk away.

“We went out for two weeks, and we broke up, and now you’re going out with him? How fast do you move on?” Saleh said to the girl he had never met.

“I’m so uncomfortable,” the girl nervously said before walking away with her boyfriend.

Later in the same video, Saleh approaches two young girls and asks them for the “directions to your heart.” The man who was with them asked Saleh several times to “keep walking,” but Saleh continued to bother the group. On both occasions, the man present asked Saleh about the person standing off in the background filming the encounter, while Saleh continued filming.

In another video from 2012, Saleh is in Central Park, provoking groups of strangers at random. One segment of the video shows him confronting a group of African American men, asking for “Deshawn,” ignoring the group repeatedly telling him that nobody in their group was named Deshawn.

“That’s my baby mama, boy! Her name’s Shaniqua, not Jessica! That’s my baby mama, boy. That’s my baby mama,” Saleh shouted.

While Delta certainly seems to have acted inappropriately in its treatment of Saleh according to his accounts, the professional YouTube troll at least knew that he would get an adverse reaction from people on the plane whom he knew would be provoked by his actions, leading to his overreaction to flight staff and fellow passengers.

Despite his experience at the airport, Saleh will likely see a lot more YouTube subscribers as a result of his brush with racial profiling.

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