Singer Jason Derulo says he escaped a racially motivated arrest at Miami International Airport on Wednesday only because he was recognized as a celebrity.
In a video posted at TMZ.com, the “Talk Dirty” singer, 27, says he and his entourage were “running a little late. So we get here and we’re trying to rush and get our bags in.” He noted he is a member of American Airlines’ invitation-only ConciergeKey program, which offers the carrier’s most elite passengers expedited check-in and allows its agents wide discretion in assisting them. Yet an agent, whose photo Derulo posted on Instagram with a short description of the events, kept them waiting 10 minutes, the singer said, “and then when he gets back he’s like, ‘You can no longer check your bags.’ ”
One of what TMZ said were eight companions offered to remain with the 19 bags and take them on another flight. “We get on the airplane,” Derulo relates, “and our guy calls us and he’s like, ‘Yo, it’s gonna be 6K to check all the bags.’ ” Derulo balked at the $6,000 expense since ConciergeKey members, according to the airline, are allowed three free check-in bags, and gold- and various platinum-level flyers are allowed from one to three each.
In the video, Derulo says, “They turn the plane around, they’re like, ‘Is there anything we can do to keep you on the plane?’ We’re like, ‘Don’t charge us the 6K, it’s that simple.’ ”
At the airport, he continued, the captain berated him and 15 police officers awaited. When Derulo began streaming video of the encounter, however, “They find out who I am . . . and it’s all relaxed and it’s all cool and now we chillin’ in the lounge at American Airlines like everything is good. But it’s not good. Because if I was not who I was . . . I wouldn’t be here right now, I’d be in . . . cuffs. It’s 100 percent racial, because the initial thought in people’s minds is that these hoodlums, they’re causing problems.”
American Airlines said in a statement that the Los Angeles-bound flight “returned to the gate prior to departure. A passenger elected to deplane in order to travel with their checked bags. The passenger has been rebooked with his checked bags on a later flight this evening.”