Joel Osteen’s associate pastor, John Gray, best known for his new talk show, “The Preachers,” had a heated showdown with three flight attendants and authorities, and two of the flight attendants ended up being removed from the American Airlines flight, reports TMZ.
According to Gray, he and his wife, Aventer, were flying from L.A. to Texas. As the flight was pulling back from the gate Aventer decided to swap seats with her nanny as her two children became unruly in coach section of the plane.
“American Airlines had changed my babies’ seats. My husband had secured them in the same row as they are 3 and 4 years old. It was further in the back. I had a first-class seat. By the time my children knew they couldn’t see [me] anymore, they started acting out,” Aventer told TMZ. “So, thinking I’m being noble, I text my nanny and say ‘hey come take my seat and I’m going to sit with them,’ in an effort to not cause any disruptions during anyone’s travels,” she continued.
The flight crew assumed the preacher’s wife was searching for an empty seat. In an effort to stop her, Aventer claims one flight attendant laid hands on her. However, she insists the incident wasn’t provoked.
“There were three attendants. The one, as I was switching my seat was standing in the middle aisle — it was a gentleman. As I was going to the back he said ‘you need to go back to the front because there are no seats back here.’ He forces his hand on my shoulders and said, ‘you’re being disruptive.’ ”
“But he also stands over my daughter — as she checks on my daughter,” the associate pastor interjected in a short video clip.
“I was like there was no problem, but now we really have one,” Aventer added, admitting that she attempted to snap a picture of the flight attendant’s name tag.
While both Gray and his wife didn’t want to jump to conclusions, pulling the race card, Gray said “Out of honor, I don’t want to speculate. But I will say this. I don’t know if it was race as much as it was profiling. At the time, my wife had on a head scarf — so maybe they’re assuming she’s a flight novice. Maybe they don’t think she has as much sophistication — so they can say whatever they want to her. But I’m telling you in my heart it would have been very difficult for me to believe that if this had happened to someone else the outcome would not have been different.”
Meanwhile, the flight attendants (both White) were asked to leave the plane, and when Aventer again refused to return to her seat, the remaining staff called police for backup. According to reports, she remained seated, but burst into tears during a heated conversation with officers.