American track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson claims she was taken off an American Airlines plane after a fight with a flight attendant.
In a series of posts and stories on her official Instagram, the 22-year-old reports says a male flight attendant asked her to end a phone call, which she did before telling him she didn’t like his tone.
“After that while standing in front of me doing the safety protocols, he kept bending over to look at my phone,” Richardson said in an Instagram story tagging American Airlines. “He asked to see if my phones were on airplane mode at the moment. He demanded I show him. Which I did in front of him.”
An American Airlines spokesperson said Richardson “used her cell phone while the plane was taxiing and told her to put the phone down several times and didn’t obey.”
“The captain chose to return to the gate and ask her to leave the plane,” the spokesman said.
In a video that Richardson says was taken after interacting with the flight attendant, she can be seen making a video of herself.
“I’m not working today,” she says. “Vacation time.”
It is not clear where Richardson flew to.
Richardson then points the phone’s camera at a flight attendant near her, who is then seen backing away.
“I’m recording, but you jumped into my video, so I caught you, because you jumped into my video,” says Richardson.
“You can’t pick up,” you hear the flight attendant say.
“You’re bothering me right now, so I think you should stop, I think you should stop,” Richardson responds.
NBC News doesn’t know what happened before Richardson started recording.
A commotion is then heard from other passengers, some of whom ask Richardson to stop.
‘You see him, don’t you? You see him, don’t you?’ Richardson asks them. ‘Tell him to stop. If you don’t know what’s going on, don’t yell at me.”
“You can stop recording,” says the same flight attendant.
“No, I’m not going to stop recording because I was making a video for myself,” Richardson responds.
Richardson posted another video to her Instagram showing the moments before she was asked to leave the flight.
“I definitely would have listened to instructions but the way he talked to me was very unprofessional and then his hands were all over my face,” Richardson can be heard saying in the video, which has been liked more than 47,000 times.
A fellow passenger is then heard thanking Richardson and blaming her for missing his connecting flight.
“Oh, so you’re worried about hooking up when a grown man disrespects me?” she replies.
“I don’t care,” says the passenger before calling Richardson selfish.
Someone then approaches Richardson and tells her that she is being asked to leave the plane. When she asks why, the person replies, “The captain wants you to get off the plane.”
“Does the captain know what happened before he removed me?” she says. “So they know this guy has his hands all over my face and he was very disrespectful and I felt threatened?”
Richardson asks to speak to the captain and also that the flight attendant she was arguing with will also be removed from the plane.
“So he won’t be removed after being unprofessional and putting his hand in my face?” she responds after learning that the flight attendant will not be asked to leave the flight. “So I’m being taken off the plane without even being explained why?”
The track star then asks what the flight attendant’s name is, to which he again told her not to answer.
“No, but you jumped into my video, that’s what started this whole thing and the video shows that you jumped into my video and violated my privacy, you know that right?” she tells him. “So it’s a possibility you’ll lose your job because I have proof.”
Again commotion can be heard from the other passengers. Richardson begins to collect her things to prepare to leave the plane.
“You all see it on social media because you have no idea who I am,” she says as she exits the plane.
Clapping is heard as Richardson tries to exit the plane.
In a statement shared with NBC News, a representative for Richardson said she “has nothing to add at this time.”
Richardson, who rose to fame when she qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, was subsequently suspended for a month after testing positive for THC, the chemical in cannabis, according to the US Anti-Doping Agency.
Richardson sat down for an exclusive interview on NBC’s “TODAY” show after failing the drug test.
“Right now I’m putting all my energy into dealing with what I need to deal with to heal myself,” Richardson said at the time.
Richardson said during the interview that she turned to marijuana to cope after a reporter told her that her birth mother had died.
“I want to take responsibility for my actions,” she added. “I’m not looking for an excuse.”
“I would like to say to my fans and my family and my sponsorship, also to the haters, I apologize,” she said. “As much as I am disappointed, I know that when I step on that track, I am not representing myself, but representing a community that has shown me great support and great love.”