“Where is the Love?” is the name of The Black Eyed Peas’ 2003 single, and it could also be a question asked by the group’s frontman Will.i.am, who accused the Australian airline Qantas of racist treatment.
The rapper was traveling with his team from Brisbane to Sydney, Australia, at the time, when he said a female flight attendant called the police on him because he didn’t put away his laptop fast enough.
Will said he was making music on the device and because he was using noise-cancelling headphones, he couldn’t hear the PA announcement to put all electronics away.
“This is how your greeted when you land from Brisbane to Sydney flying @qantas with a
#RacistFlightattendant named Lorraine Marshall,” he tweeted on Nov. 15. “She sent the police after me because I couldn’t hear the P.A while making beats on the plane wearing noise canceling headphones.”
#RacistFlightattendant was beyond rude & took it to the next level by calling the police on me,” he added. “Thank god the other passengers testified that SHE was out of Control. The police finally let me go. Imagine if the police were as aggressive as Lorraine Marshall.”
Will also said once he realized that devices had to be stored away, he immediately complied and remained polite the whole time. But that didn’t stop the police from being called.
Another passenger who was on the flight also sent a tweet to back up Will’s claim about Marshall displaying ill behavior.
“I was on the same flight and couldn’t believe the appalling behaviour of the flight attendant,” wrote Kate Selway. “My apologies on behalf of Australia.”
At one point, the Los Angeles native defended himself against those who said he shouldn’t have named the flight attendant or made his beef public.
“I am posting so that this doesn’t happen again,” Will responded. “It shouldn’t happen to a Aboriginal, Latino, African, LGBTQ White, Red or anyone… everyone deserves to be treated with respect.”
In a statement, Qantas responded to Will’s claims and chalked the whole thing up to a “misunderstanding.” They also admitted the rapper wasn’t able to hear the overhead instructions because of his headphones. But they “Reject the suggestion this had anything to do with race.”
However, Qantas later changed their tune and said they’d help Marshall sue Will if she chooses, unless he retracts his claims of receiving racist treatment.
“Absent a retraction, and if the crew member wanted to take the matter further, we’d certainly be willing to provide legal support for them to do this,” one of its representatives told CNN.
Will also mentioned in his tweets that Marshall was mistreating other people of color on the flight as well.