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RYANAIR must apologise and compensate a victim of “horrific” racism on one of their flights, a petition launched today by black activists demands.
Delsie Gayle, an elderly and disabled black member of the Windrush generation, was forced to move from her seat after another passenger hurled racist abuse at her.
Video footage showed the man, whom police have now identified but not named, calling Ms Gayle an “ugly black bastard” and shouting at her: “Don’t speak to me in a foreign language, you stupid ugly cow.”
Launching the petition, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (Barac) co-founder Zita Holbourne said: “Ryanair failed to remove the man from the flight or to support Ms Gayle.
“Instead she was made to move seats whilst the man was given a row to himself.
“As an anti-racism and race-equality campaigner, I know first-hand the devastating impact racist hate speech and crime and the lack of action can have on individuals and communities.
“That’s why I’m calling on Ryanair to publicly apologise and compensate Ms Gayle.
“They should provide assurance that their crew will protect their passengers better. This could mean a review of policies or training.”
The incident took place on Ryanair flight FR015 at Barcelona airport on Friday before it left for London Stansted.
Ms Gayle, 77, was returning from a holiday organised by her daughter to cheer her up on the anniversary of her husband’s death.
Video footage taken by another passenger also shows cabin crew asking the perpetrator if he is OK after Ms Gayle has been found another seat. He replies: “I’m alright now she’s gone.”
The budget airline has failed to comment on the incident other than to say it has referred the matter to Essex police. The force said yesterday it had passed information to Spanish authorities, who are leading the investigation.
Ms Holbourne said: “Ryanair failed Ms Gayle and in doing so failed all of their passengers.
“They had a duty of care towards her — airlines can remove passengers from flights if they pose a threat or are disruptive to other passengers — but they didn’t.
“In 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man leading to the Montgomery bus boycott — 63 years later Ryanair stand by while white people demand no black person sits next to them.
“This is disgraceful — please sign and share.”
The petition can be found at change.org.
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