US track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson claims she was removed from an American Airlines plane after she had an argument with a flight attendant.
In a series of posts and stories on her official Instagram, the 22-year-old says that a male flight attendant asked her to get off a phone call, which she did before telling him that she didn’t like his tone.
“Following that while standing in front of me doing the safety protocols he continued to lean over to look at my phone,” Richardson said in an Instagram story tagging American Airlines. “He asked to see that my phones were in airplane mode at this point. He demanded that me show him. Which I did in front of him.”
An American Airlines spokesperson said Richardson “was using her cellphone while the plane was taxiing and told multiple times to get off the phone and did not comply.”
“The Captain elected to return to the gate and ask her to get off the plane,” the spokesperson said.
In a video Richardson says was taken after the interaction with the flight attendant, she can be seen taking a video of herself.
“Not working today,” she says. “Vacation time.”
It’s not clear where Richardson was flying to.
Richardson then pans the phone camera over to a flight attendant near her, who is then seen backing away.
“I’m recording me but you jumped in my video so I caught you, because you jumped in my video,” Richardson says.
“You can’t record,” the flight attendant is heard saying.
“You’re harassing me at this point so I think you should stop, I think you should stop,” Richardson responds.
NBC News does not know what happened before Richardson started recording.
Commotion is then heard from other passengers, some of which are asking Richardson to stop.
“Y’all see him right? Y’all see him right?” 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” the same flight attendant says.
“No I’m not going to stop recording because I was making a video to 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 was talking to me was very unprofessional and then his hands were all in my face,” Richardson can be heard saying in the video, liked over 47,000 times.
A fellow passenger is then heard thanking Richardson, blaming her for missing his connecting flight.
“Oh so you’re worried about a connection while a grown man is disrespecting me?” she responds.
“I don’t give as***,” the passenger says before calling Richardson selfish.
Someone then approaches Richardson and tells her that she’s being asked to leave the plane. When she asks why, the person responds, “The captain wants you off the plane.”
“Does the captain know the situation that happened before removing me?” she says. “So do they know this man hands is all up in my face and he was very disrespectful and I felt threatened?”
Richardson asks to speak to the captain and also if the flight attendant she argued with will be removed from the plane as well.
“So he’s not being removed after being unprofessional and having his hand in my face?” she responds after learning the flight attendant won’t be asked to leave the flight. “So I’m being removed off the plane without even being explained of why?”
The track star then asks what the flight attendant’s name is, to which he again told her she’s not allowed to record.
“No, but you jumped in my video, that’s what started this whole thing and the video shows you jumped in my video and invaded my privacy, you know that right?” she tells him. “So it’s a possibility you can lose your job because I have evidence.”
Commotion is again heard from the other passengers. Richardson begins to gather her things to prepare to leave the airplane.
“Y’all see it on social media, because y’all have no idea who I am,” she says as she’s leaving the plane.
Clapping is heard as Richardson moves to get off the plane.
In a statement shared with NBC News, a representative for Richardson said she “has nothing to add at this time.”
Richardson, who shot to fame when she qualified for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2021, was subsequently suspended for one month after testing positive for THC, the chemical in cannabis, according to the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Richardson sat down for an exclusive interview on NBC’s “TODAY” show after failing the drug test.
“Right now I’m just putting all of my energy into dealing with what I need to deal with to heal myself,” Richardson said at the time.
Richardson said during the interview she turned to marijuana to cope after a reporter told her that her biological 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, to the haters, too, I apologize,” she said. “As much as I’m disappointed, I know that when I step on that track, I don’t represent myself, I represent a community that has shown me great support, great love.”