The woman subjected to a racist tirade on a Ryanair flight last week has rejected her abuser’s apology, while the airline has moved to defend its actions following the incident.
David Mesher appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain yesterday to apologise for his behaviour on board Ryanair flight FR9015 on October 19 from Barcelona to London, in which he was filmed hurling obscenities at 77-year-old Delsie Gayle.
Mr Mesher told the programme that the dispute began after he asked Gayle to move from her seat but “she didn’t seem to want to get up”.
He said he “absolutely” regrets his behaviour, but denied that he was racist.
The man who racially abused an elderly black passenger onboard a Ryanair flight has apologised for his outburst, saying he is not a racist and blaming a fit of temper for the incident which went viral.— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) October 26, 2018
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“I probably lost my temper a bit and ordered her to get up,” he said.
“I’m not a racist person by any means and it’s just a fit of temper at the time, I think.
“I apologise for all the distress you’ve had there and since,” he said.
Appearing on the same programme, Ms Gayle was asked if she accepted the apology.
“I don’t think so. You must forget and forgive but it’s going to take a long time for me to get over what he has done to me,” she said.
Her daughter added that Mr Mesher “wouldn’t be saying words like that if he wasn’t racist".
Meanwhile Ryanair yesterday said it only became aware of the video late on Saturday October 20, after the flight had landed.
“Ryanair immediately reported this video, and the racist abuse, to the Essex Police in Stansted Airport at 9am on Sunday, October 21. We provided the police with a copy of the video and relevant details of the two passengers involved. These prompt actions disprove the false claims that Ryanair did not respond “quickly” or “appropriately” to this video,” the airline said.
It said it did not comment at the time “to allow the Police investigation to occur...despite the considerable and inaccurate media commentary".
“Ryanair’s Spanish cabin crew were aware of an argument between these two passengers during the boarding process, but were not aware of, as they were not present when, racist comments that were made by the male passenger towards the female passenger,” the airline’s statement continued.
“As the cabin crew believed they were dealing with an argument between two passengers, they followed company procedure, to defuse the argument, and separate the passengers by offering to move one to alternative seating.
“In this case, the female passenger was moved at her request, to a seat adjacent to her daughter who was also travelling on this flight. After moving the female passenger, both passengers were asked if they were “okay”, and both confirmed that they were.
“As far as the cabin crew were concerned, that was the end of the matter, and since there was no threat to aircraft safety, the issue of offloading one passenger did not arise.
The captain was not informed of any argument between the two passengers, and nor were airport security in Barcelona alerted, because as far as the cabin crew were concerned, the verbal argument had been defused,” Ryanair said.