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Activists call for Ryanair boycott after ‘shameful’ racist incident

OUTRAGED activists called for a Ryanair boycott today following its handling of a "shameful" racist incident where an elderly passenger was called an "ugly black bastard."

The 77-year-old victim, known only as Ms Gayle, was returning to London Stansted on Friday from a holiday in Barcelona to mark the anniversary of her husband's death.

Shocking video footage posted online by a fellow passenger, David Lawrence, appears to show an elderly man refusing to sit next to her following a noisy row over seating before the Ryanair flight leaves.

He hurls racist abuse at the pensioner, calling her an "ugly black bastard" and threatens to "push" her if she doesn't move.

Ms Gayle, who moved to Britain from Jamaica in the 1960s as part of the Windrush generation, is heard addressing her abuser in a Jamaican accent.

He replies: “Don’t talk to me in a fucking foreign language, you stupid, ugly cow.”

Ms Gayle asks to be moved to another seat, after which a flight attendant can be seen asking him if he is okay. He replies: "I’m alright now she’s gone."

Ryanair said it has referred the incident to Essex police.

Black Activist Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) co-founder Zita Holbourne called upon airline travellers to boycott Ryanair over its "woeful failure" to properly handle the incident.

She told the Star: "By doing nothing to protect the victim of this shocking and shameful racist abuse, the airline has effectively endorsed racism.

"He should have been told to leave the flight, not asked if he was okay.

"This is something that happened in segregation America and apartheid South Africa, it shouldn't be happening on a Ryanair flight today. It's unlawful.

"Only now has Ryanair acted after the full video has been widely publicised for all to see."

She pointed out that her union, the Public and Commercial Service (PCS) union, already boycotts the airline for its anti-union practices.

Supporting a Ryanair boycott, Stand Up To Racism joint secretary Sabby Dhalu said: "This man hurled racist abuse at a black woman. It is outrageous that he wasn’t removed from the plane and the woman was forced to move to another seat.

"This is yet another example of black people facing the double whammy of racist abuse and institutions effectively siding with the perpetrator.

"Ryanair must apologise for its actions and pay compensation to the woman subjected to racist abuse on its flight.”

 

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