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YouTube star famous for hoaxes claims discrimination got him kicked off a Delta flight

A YouTube star famous for pranks and hoaxes was kicked off a Delta Air Lines flight Wednesday after more than 20 people complained, the airline said.

Adam Saleh — who has more than 1.6 million YouTube subscribers — says he was speaking Arabic on the phone with his mom when he and his friend were escorted off the London-to-New York flight. He published his experience in a series of videos on social media, including the one below, which has garnered more than 434,000 retweets as of Wednesday afternoon.

Caution: This video has graphic language.


"We spoke a different language on the plane, and now we're getting kicked out," he said in the video.

He recorded the incident as Delta employees were removing him from the plane. The video shows passengers in the rear waving at him and saying "bye." The dispute started, he says, when several white passengers complained that he was speaking a different language and that he was loud.

"Upon landing the crew was debriefed and multiple passenger statements collected," Delta said in a statement. "Based on the information collected to date, it appears the customers who were removed sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting. This type of conduct is not welcome on any Delta flight. While one, according to media reports, is a known prankster who was video recorded and encouraged by his traveling companion, what is paramount to Delta is the safety and comfort of our passengers and employees. It is clear these individuals sought to violate that priority."

Saleh's manager did not immediately return CNBC's requests for comment.

Saleh later tweeted that he was on another flight with a different airline.

Saleh's YouTube videos are often pranks or social experiments set up to capture bystanders as they react to provocations. One of his more recent videos, titled "Pulling hijab off experiment!" shows him forcefully removing an actress' hijab in public to see how people would react. The video has nearly 6 million views.

After he tweeted about being booted from the Delta flight, some people on Twitter used the hashtag #boycottdelta in support of Saleh, while other questioned the legitimacy of the incident.