Musician gets apology after ‘being accused of trafficking own kids’

Musician David Ryan Harris has received an apology from American Airlines after he was allegedly accused of trafficking his own children during a flight.

The US singer-songwriter, 55, shared a post to Instagram claiming that he had been confronted by an American Airlines employee and four police officers, after disembarking a flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles on 15 September.

Harris, who was travelling with two of his sons, Truman and Hendrix, wrote in a series of Instagram videos: “Apparently, a flight attendant had called ahead with some sort of concern that perhaps my mixed children weren’t my children, because they were unresponsive during an interaction with her.”

In another video shared with his 80,0000 followers, he added: “It seems to me that you should have to have a bit more to go on before you’re able to call the police on someone.”

Harris, who has collaborated with artists including John Mayer, Mariah Carey and Dave Matthews, also criticised the flight attendant for failing to attend the scene when he disembarked the plane.

“It’s my word against her word, and she’s not even there,” he said. ”She didn’t even come to the top of the jetway to get her hero award, so I’m left to defend myself, based on something that at the time I was like, ‘I don’t even know what you’re talking about. My child doesn’t speak to anybody.’”

American Airlines has now issued a statement, which was shared to People Magazine and quoted by Harris on his Instagram account.

“At American, the safety and security of our customers and team members are our top priorities,” the statement said.

“We strive to create a positive, welcoming environment for everyone who travels with us and apologise for any misunderstanding that may have occurred. A member of our team has reached out to the customer to learn more about their experience and address their concerns.”

It continued: “​​To summarise our investigation… we and our flight attendant realised that our policies regarding suspected human trafficking were not followed… our flight attendant realises that their interaction and observations did NOT meet the criteria that human trafficking was taking place.

“Our flight attendant in question wanted to make sure that you were aware that they sincerely offer a heartfelt apology to you and your family for their actions, and the results that their actions generated.”

Harris said he “applauds” the airline for reaching out and conducting the investigation, and that he “wholeheartedly accept[s] and appreciate[s] the flight attendant’s apology”.

“All I was looking for was an apology and/or an explanation of policy,” he wrote in the caption of his latest post.

“From the beginning, I didn’t (and still don’t) think that a slow or tentative response from a seven-year-old on an early morning flight should be enough criteria to have the authorities called.

“I’ve never begrudged the red flag, I’ve always begrudged the apparent lack of diligence on the part of the flight attendant,” he wrote.

He concluded by calling the incident a “teachable moment for all involved”.

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