Australia

Qantas says it will help flight attendant sue will.i.am over 'racist' row

will.i.am attends the 27th Annual EMA Awards. Source: AAP

Qantas says it would be willing to help a cabin crew member sue Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am if he does not retract his claim she acted "racist" towards him.

Qantas has hit back at rapper will.i.am, after the Black Eyed Peas frontman accused one of its flight attendants of being "racist" and "beyond rude".

On Monday, a Qantas spokesperson told SBS News the company was willing to help the individual sue over the claims.

"Absent a retraction, and if the crew member wanted to take the matter further, we'd certainly be willing to provide legal support for them to do this," the spokesperson said.

On Saturday, will.i.am was in a dispute with the crew member on a Brisbane-Sydney flight over stowing his laptop, which culminated in police meeting him when he disembarked.

The 44-year-old published the individual's name on Twitter and accused her of being a "#RacistFlightattendant".

"I don't want to believe she racist. But she has clearly aimed all her frustrations only at the people of colour," he tweeted to his 12.8 million followers.

He followed up with: "she sent the police after me because I couldn't hear the P.A while making beats on the plane wearing noise canceling headphones".

The hip hop star's angry tweet.
The hip hop star's angry tweet.
Twitter

He included a photo of a uniformed police officer at the airport gate.

will.i.am was heading to Sydney ahead of a Black Eyed Peas performance on Saturday night.

In a subsequent tweet, he said "this is what Twitter is for...we are supposed to call out wrongdoings so we can have a safer more compassionate world".

In a previous statement, Qantas said it "completely rejected" the stoush had anything to do with race.

"There was a misunderstanding on board, which seems to have been exacerbated by will.i.am wearing noise-cancelling headphones and not being able to hear instructions from crew," the airline said.

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