Shakarri Richardson, a Dallas native and American track and field star, was removed from an American Airlines flight after an argument with a flight attendant, according to a video posted to social media.
In a series of posts on her Instagram account on Saturday, Richardson said the fight started when a flight attendant asked her to end the phone call, which she did before telling him she didn’t like the tone he was using. It’s unclear where she was flying, but Richardson said the trip was a vacation.
According to Richardson, the flight attendant then continued to lean over and look at her phone while going through a security protocol demonstration and “demanded” to show him that her phone was in airplane mode, which she said she did.
Richardson began videotaping herself after the exchange, with a flight attendant backing away in the background. He tells her that she can’t record, to which she says, “You’re bothering me right now, so I think you should stop, I think you should stop.”
Shakarri Richardson is boarding a flight when a flight attendant tells her to end the phone call and put her phone on airplane mode. She started recording videos, refused to stop, yelled at the flight attendant, insulted passengers, and was applauded by the entire flight as she left. pic.twitter.com/MzjW13SANL
— Shacarri Richardson (@shacarri_) January 21, 2023
Passengers can be heard asking her to stop.
“Tell him to stop. If you don’t know what’s going on, don’t yell at me,” says Richardson.
In a statement sent to NBC News, an American Airlines spokesman said the captain ultimately “decided to go back to the gate and ask her to get off the plane.”
“So he won’t be removed because of unprofessionalism and the fact that he put his hand to my face?” Richardson says that after she told the flight attendant, she won’t be asked to leave the flight either. “So they take me off the plane without even explaining why?”
As she gets up to leave, some of the passengers applaud.
American Airlines said they “re-accommodated” Richardson on a later flight, adding that a member of their team was “in touch to find out more”.
A rep for Richardson told NBC News that she had “nothing to add at this point.”
The 22-year-old found herself in the national spotlight in 2021 when she failed a drug test at the U.S. Olympic trials in track and field and failed to compete in the 100 meters in Tokyo as a result. Richardson said she used marijuana to cope with the unexpected death of her biological mother.
Last summer, she failed to make it to the US team that competed at the World Championships in Athletics.