Singer Will.i.am, frontman for the group Black Eyed Peas, said he was the victim of a racial incident on Qantas Airways on Saturday.
The band is currently touring Australia and was on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney.
The incident allegedly escalated from minor to major in a hurry over an apparent misunderstanding. The singer said he was working on his laptop waiting for the flight to depart while also wearing a pair of noise-canceling headphones.
He said he was unable to hear the announcement to put away all electronics, prompting a crew member to come over and verbally request that the laptop be stored.
Will.i.am said he complied, but claimed the flight attendant, whom he named in a tweet as Lorraine Marshall, became rude and even called the police.
“I think I was targeted,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that Marshall “clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of colour.”
In a statement emailed to CNN, the airline said the incident had nothing to do with race.
“There was a misunderstanding on board, which seems to have been exacerbated by will.i.am wearing noise-canceling headphones and not being able to hear instructions from crew,” Qantas said.
“We completely reject the suggestion this had anything to do with race. We’ll be following up with will.i.am and wish him well for the rest of the tour.”
The police did not press charges against the singer.
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