Nathan Davis Jr., is suing United Airlines after he says was racially profiled on a flight.
As Variety reports, the actor filed a lawsuit last week which states that he was was “kicked off an airplane in December, after a flight attendant told him he was playing music too loudly and falsely accused him of possessing a gun, an incident Davis claims was racially motivated.” The lawsuit also states that the captain tried to take his phone away from him when he was recording the incident.
“I was extremely fearful,” he told Variety in an interview. “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.”
The lawsuit has been filed again United Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines (operating United Express, on behalf of United) — and ManaAir.
“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,” Davis explained, referring to when someone says “he has a gun now” over the loudspeaker, which is heard in the footage.
“I’m thinking there could have been an Air Marshal on the plane that could have attacked me,” he continued. “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. 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?”
Davis Jr., who is one of the top personalities on TikTok with almost 10 million followers, is perhaps most known for his role as Aubrey Pollard Jr. in Kathryn Bigelow’s 2017 film, Detroit. The film revolved around the real-life events in the in 1967 where three Black teens were killed as a result of police brutality. Several others were injured. Pollard, 19 at the time, was one of the deaths.
“Being that character, I had to really go through months of living that situation, so when that situation on the plane happened, it brought me back to my character, he said. “It brought me back to those images and those videos that I was watching to prepare for that situation. I think that a lot of reasons why people view African Americans that way, has a lot to do with the entertainment industry,” he explained. “Every role that I’ve basically gotten has been the thug kid or the kid who’s from the hood hanging out with the wrong crowd. I feel like we need to change that. We need to have more positive roles.”
ExpressJet Airlines told Variety in a statement, “While we cannot comment on active litigation, ExpressJet does not tolerate racism and we are investigating this incident to better understand what occurred onboard our aircraft in December.”