Former world boxing champion Amir Khan has claimed his removal from an American Airlines flight earlier this month was “racially motivated”.
The Bolton fighter said he was made to feel “like a criminal” after he was escorted by police off a flight to Colorado.
Khan has accused the airline for removing him and his friend from the flight “for no reason” after a fellow passenger complained that his friend’s face covering “was not high enough”.
In a statement, American Airlines said that “two customers had refused to comply with repeated crew member requests” – a claim which Khan denied.
Khan first spoke of the incident in a video posted on Twitter on 18 September, in which he included the phrase ‘#Notallterrorists’.
When asked by Sky News’ Kay Burley whether he felt the incident was racially motivated, Khan replied: “Definitely, I stand by that.
“Having [the 20th anniversary of] 9/11 a week before that, and then having two Asian boys sat at the front, it makes it a little bit hard.
“I hope I’m wrong. But honestly speaking, I did nothing wrong. I got kicked off a plane for no reason and it was embarrassing.”
Khan added: “We felt like criminals, like we had done something wrong. The way we were dragged out the plane, it just felt really uncomfortable and has definitely put me off.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, supported the boxer for sharing his experience and said he had also encountered incidents of racial profiling when travelling.
Also appearing on Sky News, he said: “I’ve had problems going to America and being stopped at the airport for longer than colleagues I’m with who are not brown or Muslim.
“It’s been a big issue for some time, this issue of racial profiling, not just in America but across the globe.
“I think it is really good for Amir to talk about his experiences.”
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