An inebriated woman who claimed to be an international lawyer and pro-Palestinian activist was arrested after a racist, abusive rant aboard an Air India flight.
The woman was identified in The Times as Simone O’Broin, 50, from Belfast in Northern Ireland. A video of the incident posted on Twitter by Tarun Shukla, an aviation reporter for Economic Times Prime.
In the video, O’Broin – also known as Burns – can be hear berating staff how they’re treating “business class passengers like that, who are international criminal lawyers for the Palestinian people... I’m working for all your people, the f***ing Rohingya... don’t get any money for it by the way, but you can’t give me a f***ing glass of wine, is that correct?”
According to several reports, O’Broin was irate that she was denied more alcohol and also told she cannot smoke on board the aircraft.
Irish lady behaves in such an abusive, racist way with @airindiain crew for being refused extra drinks. Very decent AI crew behaviour. Arrested on landing. Wonder if she should have been controlled onboard with handcuffs. @JitiBhargava @Mohan_Rngnathan pic.twitter.com/kSTDmGOEm5— Tarun Shukla (@shukla_tarun) November 13, 2018O’Broin also told the Air India crew member that she was the “leader of the f***ing boycott movement – if I say boycott Air India, done. Do you understand me?”
In the video, O’Broin continues to rant and rave, calling one staff member an “Indian money-grubbing bastard” and using other racial and misogynistic slurs. She then repeatedly proclaimed that she is a “human rights lawyer for the f***ing Palestinian people” as well as the “Irish Republic Army... you’ll be f***ing shot.”
The London Metropolitan Police confirmed to Business Insider on Wednesday that O’Broin was arrested when she landed at Heathrow Airport “on suspicion of racially aggravated public order, common assault, and drunk and disorderly and taken to a west London police station. The arrest related to incidents that had occurred on board the plane. She was subsequently released under investigation.”
O’Broin was traveling from Mumbai to London on Saturday, and video of the incident was first posted online on Tuesday, leading to widespread media coverage and the discovery of the woman’s identity.
Despite O’Broin’s repeated claims of being an international criminal lawyer and activist, there was not a lot of information online linking her to the cause. In 2012, she wrote two reports for BADIL, the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights. The online catalogue of the Bethlehem University Library lists a paper she wrote in 2011 titled “Applying international criminal law to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people.” And in 2010 she signed a letter written the BBC complaining that its coverage of the Mavi Marmara incident “was little more than an extension of Israel’s PR offensive.”