A major airline is speaking out after a Grammy-winning rapper accused one of its flight attendants of racist behavior.
Will.i.am, best known as a founder and lead member of the Black Eyed Peas, was flying on Australia's Qantas Airways on Friday when he encountered what he referred to as an "overly aggressive flight attendant."
The flight attendant and Will.i.am, whose real name is William Adams, reportedly began arguing after she asked him to stow his laptop before the plane landed. According to Adams, he originally could not hear the attendant due to the loud flight, and "quickly and politely" complied once he realized what she was asking.
But Adams said the "beyond rude" flight attendant "took it to the next level," calling for federal officers meet him at the gate when the flight landed in Sydney.
"I don’t want to believe she's racist. But she has clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of color," Adams tweeted following the incident.
I’m currently on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney.
I’m sorry to say me and my group have experienced they worse service due to a overly aggressive flight attendant...
I don’t want to believe she racist.
But she has clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of colour
— will.i.am (@iamwill) November 16, 2019
The rapper's tweets went on to describe the event in detail, as well as sharing the flight attendant's name and photo. Many of those tweets have since been deleted, as Adams received backlash online for his handling over the situation.
"Why not just go through a normal complaint process? Do you understand the intimidation and abuse you are subjecting this woman to with your post?" one Twitter user commented.
Adams originally stood by his method of complaining, saying others would do the same in his position.
"I’m using the same tool you would use if you were wrongly accused of doing something & pulled away by police officers," Will.i.am said. "I still don’t know what I did wrong for police to come."
The "I Gotta Feeling" rapper did note, however, that he did not mean for anyone to target the flight attendant online. He later deleted several of his tweets that revealed her identity, many of which had used the hashtag, #racistflightattendant.
Qantas, for its part, has firmly stood by its employee, releasing a statement on Monday that referred to the situation as a "misunderstanding."
"We completely reject the suggestion this had anything to do with race," a spokesperson for the airline said.
The company went on to say that if Adams did not retract his statements, they would be willing to provide support if the flight attendant chose to take legal action. Adams, meanwhile, reaffirmed his comments, tweeting Monday that he feels he was not treated respectfully.
"I am in the public eye & I behave even when I have a bad day...my mother raised me to be polite & treat people with respect...being a public figure puts extra guards rails so I stay polite & serve...everyone should operate with respect. especially people who serve the public," Adams wrote.