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Three Black men are suing American Airlines for “blatant and egregious race discrimination” after an alleged body odor complaint led to their removal.

According to CNN, on Jan. 5, Alvin Jackson, Emmanuel Jean Joseph, Xavier Veal and five other Black passengers were removed from American Flight 832, which was headed from Phoenix to JFK in New York City.

The three men say they were kicked off “without any valid reason, based solely on their race.”

According to the complaint, the men were approached by American Airlines representatives, demanding they leave the airplane. 

“(O)nce they reached the jet bridge, they saw that several other Black men were also being removed from the plane. In fact, it appeared to Plaintiffs that American had ordered all of the Black male passengers on Flight 832 off the plane,” said the complaint. 

The complaint also says that representatives from American told the men that they were removed because of a complaint about body odor. It was later revealed in the suit that a white male flight attendant had made the body odor complaint.

Still, none of the men were told they personally had body odor. “None of the Plaintiffs had offensive body odor,” the complaint read.

After an hour of trying to explain that they were being discriminated against, the men were eventually allowed back on the flight because there were no other available flights that evening.

“Plaintiffs then had to reboard the plane and endure the stares of the largely white passengers who viewed them as the cause of the substantial delay. They suffered during the entire flight home, and the entire incident was traumatic, upsetting, scary, humiliating, and degrading,” the complaint reads.

Video taken by one of the plaintiffs shows the men questioning the airline’s decisions to remove a handful of Black men from the flight.

“So this is discrimination,” one of the men said. 

“I agree, I agree,” replies an airline employee.

“We’re the only ones getting taken off the plane,” says another one of the men who was removed from the plane.

American Airlines said they are taking the claims seriously and looking into the matter.

“We take all claims of discrimination very seriously and want our customers to have a positive experience when they choose to fly with us. Our teams are currently investigating the matter, as the claims do not reflect our core values or our purpose of caring for people,” American Airlines said in a statement.

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