Virgin is facing the wrath of Chinese netizens after a passenger on a recent Virgin Atlantic flight said she was racially abused by a white male passenger -- who called her, among other things, a "f**cking Chinese pig" -- then threatened with removal from the plane by a flight attendant after she reported the abuse.
Virgin trashed on social media over China racism claims
A Chinese passenger named Liu Wei says a white man called her racist names, including "you f**cking Chinese pig," after the boarded Virgin Atlantic Flight 250 from London Heathrow to Shanghai on March 1. But instead of receiving assistance from the cabin crew, they threatened to throw her off the flight.
Liu later recounted her experience in an angry post on Weibo, which went viral and gained the attention millions of Chinese readers, setting off an onslaught of outraged messages to Virgin Atlantic's social media accounts.
In the letter, the woman claims that she boarded the March 1st flight early and was looking for her headphones when suddenly a large white man -- around 55 years old -- approached her from two rows back. Pointing his finger at her nose, he yelled: "You fucking Chinese pig!!! Get the fuck out of here!"
The woman was initially taken aback by the random insult, but then shot back angrily: "What did you say to me?"
Rather than backing down, the man repeated his insult and started to hurl more with his fists up like he was ready to attack the woman. She says she then went looking for help.
A British passenger and his Chinese wife tried to stop the man from harassing her, but the man threatened them not to interfere. Meanwhile, the flight attendants stood by and did nothing.
Eventually, one of the flight attendants did respond, but after whispering with the man, the flight attendant sternly told the woman to "respect other passengers" and stop fighting, otherwise she would be thrown off the plane.
With Liu's story going viral, Virgin Atlantic's official Weibo account has been flooded with angry comments from netizens demanding that the airline issue an official apology for what happened. It seems that Chinese internet doesn't like it when airline employees do nothing as passengers are racially abused.
Liu subsequently posted an email response she received from Virgin Atlantic regarding the incident:
We do take situations like this most seriously and I"m very grateful to you for letting us know what happened. This really does sound like an incredibly upsetting situation for you and I want to assure you that we have investigated this thoroughly with our crew managers.
It"s very disappointing that one of our other customers spoke to you in such a disrespectful manner. I appreciate how shocking this must have been for you and I understand the distress this no doubt caused. We do hope that our customers will be respectful to their fellow passengers and it"s very upsetting that this was not the case.
I understand that Nathan agreed to move the other passenger, however unfortunately there were no seats available further up the cabin and he therefore remained in his original seat.
Unfortunately I cannot disclose any medical conditions that this passenger may have.
We are a multicultural airline and do employ people of all cultures and nationalities.
China Daily reports that Virgin Atlantic has launched an investigation into the incident. The airline said the company will not "comment further until we have resolved the issue with our customer directly."
And it appears that word of this debacle has worked its way to the top. You know things have gotten serious when Virgin CEO Richard Branson has to weigh in on the situation -- in English and Chinese:
Really sorry to hear about an alleged incident on flight VS250. We do not tolerate abuse and @virginatlantic are investigating.— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) March 18, 2016
非常遗憾地获悉最近在VS250航班上发生的意外事件。我们决不容忍任何恶意侮辱的行为@virginatlantic事件正在调查中。— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) March 18, 2016
More here: Woman claims Virgin Atlantic staff did nothing after passenger called her a 'fucking Chinese pig'