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Black Eyed Peas star accuses Qantas attendant of racism

Grammy-winning Black Eyed Peas musician will.i.am attends the

Grammy-winning Black Eyed Peas musician will.i.am attends the 2017 EMA Awards at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. Credit: AP / Invision / Richard Shotwell

SYDNEY — Black Eyed Peas musician will.i.am has accused a flight attendant from Australia’s national carrier Qantas of being racist and rude to him on a flight.

The 44-year-old musician says he was met by police at Sydney Airport on Saturday after an incident with an “overly aggressive flight attendant” who he says was upset with him because he couldn’t hear her through his noise-cancelling headphones. The Black Eyed Peas wrapped up a tour of Australia and New Zealand with a Sunday show at Auckland's Western Springs Stadium.

He tweeted a photo of a police officer and said: “This is how your greeted when you land from Brisbane to Sydney flying @qantas with a #RacistFlightattendant.” He then named the flight attendant.

Qantas said in a statement it rejected the allegation that the incident had anything to do with race and said it was a “misunderstanding.” It said it would be following up with the musician.

Later on, will.i.am asked his Twitter followers not to direct vitriolic comments to the flight attendant, noting, "Please do not send Hate...This type of disrespect and name calling is uncalled for...I don’t support abuse & attacks like this...I hope that everyone can be more compassionate & understanding towards one another...because it was the lack of compassion that caused this," adding the hashtag noH8.

While some criticized the singer for posting the Quantas worker's name on the social media site, will.i.am stood by his decision to publicly call out an individual over her treatment of him. 

"I don’t regret my actions of taking to public to speak for the other for those who don’t have the voice who felt the same disrespect," he tweeted. "I am saddened that People chose to spread hate and attack... there were other people on the flight were disrespected." (A person who was on the flight replied to will.i.am's Twitter account, agreeing with the musician and the attendant's perceived attitude.)

The Grammy-winning musician, who praised the audience at the Black Eyed Peas' Saturday show in Sydney, added, "If I did something wrong....or if I was the slightest bit rude to a FAN or a journalist during work, I would be publicly named...this is what Twitter is for...we are supposed to call out wrong doings so we can have a safer more compassionate world."

With Newsday Staff

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