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Las Vegas Entertainment Boss Sues American Airlines for Racial Discrimination on Flight

Las Vegas Entertainment Boss Sues American Airlines for Racial Discrimination on Flight

a plane taking off from a runway

A well-established and ‘prominent’ businessman who works in the entertainment industry in Las Vegas has accused American Airlines of racial discrimination and civil rights abuses following a flight to Washington DC in May 2021.

Kenneth Crear, who is African American, filed a lawsuit against American Airlines earlier this week demanding at least $1.25 million in compensation and punitive damages for the way he was selectively treated by a flight attendant compared to a white passenger who was sitting across the aisle from him.

The incident occurred a few months after the first federal airplane face mask mandate was issued by the CDC and came at a time that many U.S. carriers, including American Airlines, took a zero-tolerance approach to passengers who failed to mask up.

Despite both AA’s own masking policy and the federal mask mandate being in place, Crear claims a white flight attendant allowed the caucasian passenger sat across from him to go maskless for most of the flight while he was quickly admonished if his own mask fell below his nose.

Things came to a head when the flight attendant refused to serve Crear due to his alleged mask violations and then called security to meet the aircraft when he challenged the flight attendant over why other passengers weren’t being required to mask up.

Crear says that as he boarded the flight on May 7, 2021, he initially had a pleasant conversation with the flight attendant as he settled into his seat in First Class, although she soon asked Crear to lift his mask above the tip of his nose – a request, he says, he complied with immediately.

The flight attendant issued a similar warning to Crear later in the flight and then fully admonished him when she noticed that he had temporarily lowered his mask to drink a beverage he had just been served.

The same flight attendant then went to serve the white maskless passenger across the aisle but allegedly had no issue with him being unmasked.

“Crear, observing the clear double standard at hand, stated that her tone and rudeness were inappropriate,” the lawsuit, which was filed in a DC district court on Friday, explains. “She replied she would no longer serve him drinks and abruptly snatched the drink from his hands”.

Crear attempted to plead his case to the flight attendant and asked her why she had “chastised” him while ignoring the “blatant violation” of the mask mandate across the aisle. She allegedly responded in a “louder, rude, and condescending manner”.

Upon landing, an American Airlines supervisor boarded the flight and asked Crear to wait behind while additional managers were called to the plane. Crear was left waiting, ‘effectively detained’ for nearly half an hour before he had an opportunity to show the supervisor video evidence he had taken of the other passenger sitting maskless.

After seeing the video evidence, Crear was released, but he is now seeking compensation for what he claims are “double standards” based on race.

Back in 2017, American Airlines was the subject of a travel advisory issued by the civil rights group NAACP warning African Americans to “exercise caution” when booking tickets with American Airlines or boarding one of its planes.

The NAACP was concerned that implicit racial bias had become a major problem at American Airlines and only lifted the advisory nine months later when the airline agreed to implement a slew of measures to tackle the issue.

In 2020, American Airlines allowed flight attendants and other employees to wear Black Lives Matter pins on their uniforms.

View Comments (8)
    • Knowing Mr. Crear and his family personally, I guarantee you it’s not about the payday. It’s the principle. Mr. Crear is an iconic business manager whose clients have included Justin Timberlake, Aaron Carter, and Janet Jackson. His brother is a respected politician and businessman in the Las Vegas area. Mr. Crear just has the resources to do what other people who should be filing suits for this type of racial bias should be doing. You don’t know what was the catalyst for him not filing then and deciding to file now. Just three days ago, I witnessed an African American man get removed from the plane in Phoenix because he had the “nerve” to complain about possibly missing his connecting flight in Las Vegas because we sat on the plane, at the gate for over an hour. They finally deplaned us, made us wait 45 minutes and allowed us to board , then proceeded to remove him because he asked a flight attendant in an irritated but not rude manner if the airlines was gonna pay for his missed flight. She falsely reported as a threat and if the gentleman decides to sue, I will testify on his behalf. Now when on the same flight a Caucasian man said that the same situation was bs thre was no action taken towards him. Trust me, Crear doesn’t need the money.

  • Crear is wrong and trying to justify his bad behavior. He admits being maskless during the height of the pandemic, when vaccination was just a few months from the beginning and Paxlovid was not yet available. He should have declined drinking except very quick consumption if extremely thirsty.

    • Clearly you didn’t read the article. He said his mask fell below his nose . He never stated he was maskless. He said the Caucasian customer was maskless most of the flight. If you read thoroughly you would have also read that American Airlines has an ongoing history of “implicit racial bias” towards Afican Americans. If he should have declined drinking then American Airlines should have declined serving drinks during the flight. If the video evidence validates his claim, then he has every right to file a suit no matter what the length of time since the incident.

  • But is it racial or was Mr. Crear’s personality and demeanor rubbing the flight attendant the wrong way? I’m Caucasian and I have seen flight attendants enforce rules for some but not all Caucasian travelers. It’s always interesting to me when that happens.

  • Having been subjected to racist flight attendants on AA, I’m SURE of what he is saying. It’s less than 0.5%, but we know….and it’s usually subtle. I ignore them for the most part anyway. They have to be nice to me in International and Transcon, First and Business, but we can tell.

    Anyway, it’s over for them soon, as you are all about to find out.

    All those siding with the FA over the passenger are clearly racist. Then again, these blogs are breeding grounds for the disgusting racists that reside in the USA to let their feelings out, so it’s no surprise.

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