Derulo was traveling with an entourage from Miami to Los Angeles when an airline employee called the police because, according to the report, Derulo and his friends “smelled of marijuana and were getting aggressive.” When police arrived, Derulo and his crew initially refused to give ID to officers, the report continues.
Derulo is telling a different story, though. He claims that because of a mix-up over departure times, his and his friends’ luggage didn’t make it onto the flight they were on. One member of the group opted to stay behind and take a later flight along with all the checked bags, but according to Derulo, the airline was going to charge him $4,000 for the 19 checked bags. Derulo, who claims he had never been charged to check bags before, demanded that the plane return to the gate so he could get off. He said as he and his crew were exiting, the captain of the plane cursed at them.
“And that was really upsetting to me because I felt like he was trying to make it seem like we were delinquents, and he was kicking us off the plane, when it was us that asked to get off the plane. I was like, ‘Listen, sir, you’re not going to talk down to me; I’m not your son. Don’t talk to me in that tone of voice,'” Derulo said.
Derulo added that 15 police officers were waiting when he and his friends got off the plane, which was “super embarrassing.” He also said that once he started recording everything that was happening on Instagram, behavior toward him and his friends changed.
“So I go live, and I start to hear whispers happening, and as soon as they find out who I am, everything changes,” he said. “Every single person becomes somebody else, and all of a sudden, we’re not in trouble anymore.”
In a post on Instagram, Derulo claimed that the change happened because police and airline employees realized he was famous, but before that, they were discriminating against him because of his race.
“I spent millions on your airline throughout the past ten years between myself and my entire staff but have still experienced racial discrimination today at miami airport!!! Called 15 police officers on me as if I’m a criminal! It’s not ok that when you find out who I am the gears change! Fuck that!! I want answers,” he wrote.
American Airlines has not responded to Derulo’s claims and has released a statement only confirming that his plane was returned to the gate when he requested to get off before takeoff.