Singer Jason Derulo slams American Airlines for alleged discrimination

Posted at 4:31 AM, Feb 10, 2017

Jason Derulo got into a heated dispute with American Airlines over his luggage after boarding a Los Angeles-bound flight in Miami Wednesday, according to the singer and songwriter.

Derulo, a native Floridian of Haitian descent, said he was discriminated against by the airline in an angry post on Instagram.

"I spent millions on your airline throughout the past ten years between myself and my entire staff but have still experienced racial discrimination today at miami airport!!! Called 15 police officers on me as if I'm a criminal!" he wrote. "It's not ok that when you find out who I am the gears change!"

The airline, in a statement to ABC News today, said, "Flight 275 returned to the gate prior to departure. A passenger elected to deplane in order to travel with their checked bags."

American Airlines did not identify Derulo by name, but he is one of four people named as being “in transit” on a Miami-Dade Police Department report about the airport dispute in which the group was accused of smelling of marijuana and “starting to get aggressive.”

The incident apparently started when Derulo and his group arrived at Miami International Airport 45 minutes before scheduled departure, according to the police report. One member of his party stayed behind to check all their luggage, which never made it on board. The airline requires passengers wanting to check luggage to arrive earlier than 45 minutes before departure.

The more elite customers get three bags checked for free, while Derulo's representative attempted to check 19 bags for the group, according to an airline source.

It’s unclear how many people were in his group.

Derulo, whose full name is Jason Desrouleaux, told People today that he was on the plane, getting ready to depart, when he got a call from his friend saying the airline was going to charge $4,000 to check their luggage.

"We’d never paid for our bags because of our status -- with all of our miles -- so we’d never paid for bags," Derulo told People. "So $4,000 is obviously a huge sum. We were like, ‘No, we’re not paying that. We’ve got to turn the plane around.'"

The singer, 27, said things turned ugly when the captain came out.

"I felt like he was trying to make it seem like we were delinquents, and he was kicking us off the plane, when it was us that asked to get off the plane," he said. "I was like, ‘Listen, sir, you’re not going to talk down to me; I’m not your son. Don’t talk to me in that tone of voice.'"

According to the police incident report, the flight captain and an unnamed passenger engaged in a “heated argument” after the plane left the gate. The passenger told the captain he did not want to fly and wanted to return to the terminal, a request the airline honored, according to the report.

After the plane returned to the gate and the group got off the plane, Derulo said, they were met by 15 police officers, which he called "super embarrassing."

"As you can imagine, I’m surrounded by 15 police officers, I’m not going to curse back because I know what’s going to happen," he told People. "So I pick up my phone, and I go live on my Instagram."

He continued, "So I go live, and I start to hear whispers happening, and as soon as they find out who I am, everything changes. Every single person becomes somebody else, and all of a sudden, we’re not in trouble anymore."

In its statement, the airlines told ABC News, "The passenger was rebooked with his checked bags on a later flight Wednesday evening."

When officers arrived at the gate, a police spokesman said today, Derulo had already deplaned. American Airlines decided to handle the incident accordingly and no police action was taken.

But Derulo, who was not charged, has no plans to drop the issue.

"I just want everybody to be treated with respect," he said. "At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. I’m not asking for anything extra. I’m not asking to be taken care of."

A Derulo rep declined to comment.