Actor Nathan Davis Jr. sues United Airlines for $10M for racial profiling
The 'Snowfall' actor and TikTok star says he was treated unfairly in an incident on an airplane last December.
Nathan Davis Jr. from Marvel’s Runaways and Snowfall filed a lawsuit this week alleging he was kicked off an airplane last December after a flight attendant falsely accused him of possessing a gun, in what the actor believes was a racially motivated incident.
“I was extremely fearful,” Davis said in a recent interview with Variety. “I honestly felt like there was nobody there that had my back. I was the only Black man on the plane. I just honestly felt like my life didn’t matter — I literally felt like this lady was going to take away my life, just by saying that I had a gun.”
As a result, his attorney George Mallory has filed the racial discrimination lawsuit against United Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines, which operates as United Express, on behalf of United and ManaAir.
In addition to his work in Hollywood, the 26-year-old is also a TikTok star with more than 9 million followers on the app. After going public with his story he decided to explain his decision to file the suit in which he is seeking $10 million in damages.
“I feel like that I needed to talk about the situation to kind of show people that no matter how much money or fame you have, as a Black man, we’re still gonna have a target on our backs,” he said. “And I don’t want another person to go through this situation who doesn’t have the platform that I have.”
On the day of the incident he recalls that after taking his seat at the back of a flight from Houston to Nashville, he was approached by a female flight attendant asking him to turn down the music playing through his earbuds.
Davis says that he complied with her request to turn the music down but noticed that other passengers around him were also listening to music on their devices at the same volume without being reprimanded. He goes on to say that the attendant approached him a second and third time about the same issue even after he’d turned the music off entirely.
“The last time, the third time, I had my music paused, just to see, and she did it again and she was mocking me,” he said.
When other passengers sitting near him spoke up and said they couldn’t hear his music and felt the attendant was singling him out, the actor began recording what was happening on the plane.
In one clip obtained by Variety, Davis can be heard saying, “She’s literally calling the cops on me for listening to music. That’s crazy.”
“I just started recording because I felt like that was the only way the truth was gonna come out, with me recording on my phone,” he now explains.
According to the lawsuit, the flight attendant had the captain make an announcement that the plane would “return to the gate to remove a passenger.” When they reached the gate, one of the airline’s operations supervisors came on board to escort Davis off and the captain allegedly “attempted to forcefully take away [Davis’] cell phone while he recorded the interaction between the parties.”
When the stunned actor was allowed back onto the plane to retrieve his belongings, the flight attendant announced over the loudspeaker ‘He has a gun now”, an accusation that Davis claims was false and hadn’t even been brought up before. Fortunately, this part was also captured on video although at the time he was gripped with fear that police would be waiting for him in the terminal.
“The whole time I’m sitting there, thinking that there’s about to be all these cops that are about to point their guns at me, or they’re gonna see my phone and think it’s a gun and kill me,” he said. “I’m thinking there could have been an air marshal on the plane that could have attacked me.”
“I just felt so alone. I’m just thinking to myself, ‘I’m gonna die. Nobody’s gonna know my story; all they’re going to know is there’s a Black kid in the hoodie and some sweats that just got gunned down by these cops because a flight attendant said he had a gun.’” Davis continued. “I shouldn’t have to wear a suit and tie everywhere I have to go. I should be able to wear what I want to wear. I shouldn’t have to explain to people that my hoodie wasn’t on. Why do I have to say that? Why can’t I just be a human being that’s on a plane ride to go perform?”
Fortunately when he got off the staff was much more compassionate towards him than the attendant, which may have something to do with the fact that by then someone onboard recognized him from his Tik Tok and an agent recognized him as an actor.
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