Racist Qantas Flight Attendant

Racist Qantas Flight Attendant post image

Allow me to tell you about the racist Qantas Airways flight I just took.

Fifteen hours is a long time to be wedged into the iron maiden known as a modern airplane economy-class seat. That’s how long it takes to fly from Los Angeles to Australia, where I’m doing shows this month. It feels even longer when for thirteen of those hours you have to stifle the urge to pull a racist flight attendant (pictured above) into the galley and “enlighten” him.

And now, the tale of the Q Qlux Qlan:

Usually, I pay no great attention to the menus handed out on flights. I scan the offerings for the important words: beef; chicken; pasta. The rest is superfluous. When people pile the adjectives on, it’s usually an attempt to charge you more for the noun (For example, dry-aged hand-cut beef. As opposed to what? The moist young cows that were cut by foot? Just give me the meat, Roget.) or screw you in some other way. So when it came time to order from the flight attendant, I asked for the beef.

That’s when I was greeted with this idiot Qantas steward’s loud response, “You don’t want the Asian chicken? What a disgrace!” (Emphasis added where he used it.) And when he got the chuckles of the other (white Australian) passengers around me, I glared at him and he moved on. Could I have started an altercation then and there? Yes. But I don’t like to sit in restraints in the lavatory under guard by an Air Marshall for thirteen hours. So instead, like Oran Juice Jones, I chilled.

In my silent rage, I reread the menu card and there they were, my two choices:

Racism. It's what's for dinner on Qantas.

Ah, I see. So in addition to the fact that he’s a racist ass, he operates under the greater paradigm of racism that is his employer, Qantas. The menu says “Asian style spicy chicken,” but the other option is simply, “Red wine braised beef.” But why isn’t it “White people style beef”? Plus, what kind of Asian do they mean? Russians? Israeli? Laotian? If we are to understand Qantas correctly, the 4.4 billion people in 44 different Asian countries all cook chicken the same spicy non-white way. If it is based on a Chinese recipe, then why not just say so.

Here’s how you might know it’s not an isolated incident. I turned to Google to see if this was a thing, and all I managed to type was “Is Qantas” before Google suggested the end of my phrase “racist?”

Back in 2011, Qantas ran a promotion for tickets to the huge rugby union Bledisloe Cup. The winners were made to promise Qantas that they would show up in afro wigs and blackface as a tribute to their favorite Fijian-born player on the team. And they did. And Qantas tweeted to them, “Good work.”

Qantas Applauds Racism

So “good work” Qantas, for sticking to your colors. Most likely, the mouth-breather in charge of “customer service” on my flight will get a special commendation from corporate. After all, he went out of his way not to humiliate the white passengers for not ordering the “white people style beef.” For an airline that lost over $200 million in the first half of this year alone, you’d think they would try a little harder to please.

{ 87 comments… add one }
  • Kenneth Komoto September 4, 2014, 8:50 pm

    You Asians are so sensitive.

    • Paul Ogata September 4, 2014, 10:56 pm

      Kento you are the Clayton Bigsby of Asians.

      • Peter September 10, 2014, 4:12 am

        Harden up Paul

    • Janet Lee September 14, 2014, 6:14 pm

      Agreed and I am Asian-Australian myself. I put it down to the self-propagated inferiority complex most Asians (men in particular) suffer from. Would you be as offended if the name of the dish was ‘American-style chicken’ and upon hearing your accent they said the same comment? Would you have ranted about the many different styles of cooking within the continent?

      I am 100% sure that the flight attendant was gay and the use of the word ‘disgrace’ was in a campy manner. I know that on a long-haul flight I would certainly appreciate being served by somebody with a sense of humour.

      I’m sure many have already commented on the irony of a comedian being unable to take a joke but I sincerely hope that this was a PR campaign and you aren’t actually so thin skinned or unbalanced that you would start an ‘altercation’ over what was obviously a joke.

      • David Williams September 27, 2014, 2:08 am

        You make good points on the surface Janet, but you’re missing the point that the joke isn’t funny in all contexts. The joke is sublimated egoism posing as humour and appears funny to those of us not on the receiving end. I can also see the humour of it, because I’m the kind of idiot, who in my younger days, might have said the same joke, thinking it funny; almost thinking of it as an attempt to buddy the Asian fellow but without any true sense of empathy. The wording is all wrong. “Disgrace” doesn’t make much sense. What’s ‘disgraceful’ about someone not opting to eat food from his own ethnic culture? Where in the world is that considered disgraceful? A Jew choosing to eat pork or a Hindu choosing to eat beef – that might be considered ‘disgraceful’ because it goes against a moral or religious code. But a generic flavour from a large area of the world hardly conjures up a ‘disgrace’ if one chooses not to eat it. Yes, I know the choice of word is ironic, but it’s still a nonsense choice of word. I agree, without any non-verbal data to go on, the choice of word sounds campy, and I can even “hear” the steward’s voice and his attempt at irony, but there’s a code-cultural gap here between the Aussie steward and the American customer. “Disgrace” is way too strong a word to use in this particular context – that context being (1) service employee/white status quo and (2) customer/minority ethnicity and (3) not a social setting.

        If the attendant had said “What a gyp!” – that might have had more neutral comedic value, in that he would be expressing ironic annoyance that the airline had provided Asian food for an Asian customer who didn’t want it. But we are to presume in this instance Asian fliers were a minority, and the steward singled out a minority in a situation where the status quo was white; there was a clear power imbalance. I don’t think the joke was of a “racist” nature so much as an ego trip for the steward. There’s not really anything ‘racist’ happening here. The steward was not trying to demean any aspect of Asian culture in his comment. It was egoism, not racism.

        If the same joke had been made but not within earshot of other passengers, I wonder if Paul would have seen it differently. There’s also the problem that the snippet of language provided by Paul above is only (say) 10% of the exchange. There’s voice tone, body language, facial expression, how he dealt with it afterwards, did he give a friendly smile, offer a small condolence etc. I’m willing to believe, that Paul, who I’ve never met but have just read parts of his very amusing blog, was sensitive & intelligent enough to read the situation for what it was – an ego trip on the part of the steward at Paul’s expense without any warmth – hence the offence taken. Let’s face it – you *know* when you’ve been insulted just as you *know* when you’re being joshed with based on a whole raft of other data besides mere language.

      • James February 10, 2015, 9:17 pm

        Janet, with all due respect, your comments are misguided.

        I would not have really questioned the use of the adjective “Asian” in the menu, since it is all too common in Aus to describe something as such. What I don’t like is the fact that the FA was so ready to make assumptions about other ethnicities. By having an Asian appearance, you must have preferences for “Asian” style food, etc, and perhaps you must have a number of other Asian characteristics. It is this sort of stereotyping (based on race and background) that far too common with Anglo Australians, I use the word Anglo for a reason because many white Australians, for instance, Italians and Greeks, claim they are also discriminated against by the mainstream Anglo-Celtics.

        I agree with David, the fact that the joke was made within earshot of other customers only made it worse. I wonder if the FA would have done the same if it was a flight full of Asian passengers! Good luck trying.

        I am Asian Australian. I can’t speak for any fellow Asian men, maybe a few indeed have inferiority complex. I can only offer my take on this incident, if I was Paul Ogata, I would not have liked the FA’s joke. But I think it’s more a display of white superiority complex. I agree with the comment that this was an ego trip or power play for the FA (again, refer to my earlier comment about whether he would have made the same joke if it was a plane full of Asian passengers). Maybe I wouldn’t blog about it since I’m not 1) a public figure, 2) a comedian, and it would serve me no benefit. But I give two thumbs up to Paul for using his public influence to expose it.

        I have been in Australia long enough to learn to “take the piss” (Aussie slang for taking a joke). But just because the recipient takes the piss it doesn’t justify the initial indiscretion. Equally, toughening up means I would not let something affect me as much as possible, it doesn’t make it right.

        In my opinion, Australia has an undercurrent of casual racism/xenophobia – after all the White Australia policy was around until the 70s, in many people’s living memory. And I say casual because many Anglo Australians take their superiority complex for granted and don’t even realise it’s wrong. Add to the mix a bit of small-mindedness and parochialism. Yes we are pretty backward when it comes to cultural awareness. There hasn’t been much serious debate about addressing racial/ethnic inequality.

        I have experienced a few outbursts of racism in public areas, such as when a woman barking out at me “Asians come here and ruin everything” in an Ikea store. I called her a “fat ugly mess” and “pathetic racist”. Guess who won the day? I don’t like tolerating racist idiots, they should be disciplined as opposed to given a free pass to insult people.

        I won’t go into the inferiority complex that some Asian Australian women have.

  • David Novin September 4, 2014, 10:16 pm

    Great…I have to Fly Qantas to New Zealand in a few months…I’ll see if there’s another option…thanks for the heads up…I, most likely, am not as enlightened and polite as you…I HOPE they crack a fat joke…

    • Paul Ogata September 4, 2014, 10:59 pm

      There has to be another option, Air New Zealand maybe?

  • anonamous September 4, 2014, 10:39 pm

    lorr…i dont think this is racist…

  • Ray Cyst September 5, 2014, 2:13 am

    I googled “Is Qantas” and the suggestions I got were everything else but “racist”.

    • Paul Ogata September 5, 2014, 6:36 pm

      Might be I was typing “Is Qantas ra” and that’s when Google’s helpful suggestion kicked in. Before “is Qantas raved about” or “is Qantas rad” or “is Qantas rarely crashing”. As to that last point, contrary to what Rain Man says, they have crashed. Just not very recently.

      • James F September 8, 2014, 7:24 pm

        They don’t crash that often, Paul. There’s just the occasional bit of an engine that falls off from time to time. Nothing to see here. Ahem. Safe travels…

  • gugu September 9, 2014, 9:28 pm

    This isn’t racist. He was just joking. For a comedian you really can’t take a joke. What a drama queen.

    • Paul Ogata September 9, 2014, 10:15 pm

      Have you ever hung around with comedians after the show? Far worse is said, but if I’m among fellow comedians I can certainly take a joke. If I’m among friends I can take a joke. This guy was neither. Also, was it really “just a joke”? Seems more like the manifestation of institutionalized discrimination. Anyway, let’s stick to our jobs. I don’t berate audience members about the status of their seat backs. Maybe this guy should cut the “jokes.”

      • Raj September 9, 2014, 11:25 pm

        Yes he should cut the jokes – but most likely he’ll get the sack for his indiscretion.
        Happy now?
        “institutionalized discrimination” – Are you serious?

    • John McGibbons September 9, 2014, 11:27 pm

      gugu, getting a laugh at a strangers expense when it’s completely out of context (i.e. not in a social setting or at a comedy show) is simply not professional. The flight attendant is on the job at an international airline; there’s a level of professionalism that is expected and warranted.

  • Razy Lacist September 9, 2014, 9:44 pm

    So you’re a comedian and that was enough to offend you?

    The way you carry on about ‘white’ passengers makes you seem like you’re a racist too. I find it interesting that the comment of a single person was enough to set you off calling it racist to name a food ‘Asian style chicken’.

    • Paul Ogata September 9, 2014, 10:22 pm

      Nice try. Nobody was “carrying on about white passengers.” That’s how he framed the situation and I reacted to that. What he said wasn’t as offensive as his smug demeanor from his mob mentality. It was a power play on his part.

      • Roger September 9, 2014, 10:52 pm

        …And when he got the chuckles of the other (white Australian) passengers around me, I glared at him and he moved on.

        Sorry, I was with you until you said that.
        Chuckling “white” Australians – I don’t believe the people around you would have reacted that way at all.

        • Paul Ogata September 10, 2014, 7:12 am

          Reading some of the comments here will convince you otherwise.

  • What a racist piece of scum September 9, 2014, 10:00 pm

    I hope they fire that son of a bitch.

  • John September 9, 2014, 10:04 pm

    google ‘Australia racist’ …

    • Paul Ogata September 9, 2014, 10:23 pm

      Wow, Googled it. I think I just broke the internet.

      • Jay Howard September 12, 2014, 2:54 pm

        Now google “America racist” – what ? Nothing comes up???

  • evanism September 9, 2014, 10:09 pm

    What happened isn’t funny. Someone should have called him out in public… “Oi, boofhead, that racist shit isn’t funny”. See if the mongrel feels the humour then in front of 300 people. That bullshit line of “I don’t mean to offend but…” is endemic here. It has to stop. Now.

    • Paul Ogata September 9, 2014, 10:25 pm

      Well said, evanism.

  • Scott September 9, 2014, 10:30 pm

    Hi Paul, I am embarrassed as a (White) Australian that you were subjected to the incident you refer to. Good on you for bringing it to the notice of QANTAS management. I hope the attendant is suitably dealt with. Rest assured we are not all like the knob you refer to. Hope you enjoy your stay here.

  • Lee September 9, 2014, 10:51 pm

    I used qantas when I came to Australia for first time as a student in 2011. The service is so bad that I promised myself will never use them anymore. Being a shorty 150 cm, I barely can reach the overhead luggage compartments. So I politely asked a stewardess if she could store my carry on luggage for me. She sneered and rudely refused. She said that “if the luggage is too heavy for me to lift, it isn’t supposed to be here!”
    I was pretty stunned with her reaction. So she made a scene and called another steward. She waved and pointed her finger to me and said,” this girl can’t lift her luggage. It is too heavy, she said” The steward just said “no, it’s ok” and lift the luggage for me without any issue. So… Yeah! No more qantas flight for me ever.
    Note: I had a small backpack that I put under my feet and a small luggage.

  • Naomi September 9, 2014, 10:53 pm

    & you call yourself a comedian…..You seriously need to get a sense of humour!

  • Az September 9, 2014, 11:46 pm

    I’m of Indian origin and I had some similar experience back in 2004. I was sitting in the very first seat in the aisle(aisle seats?). And when it came to serving food the flight attendant “missed” me somehow and went on serving everyone else. Anyway later on I had push that button to get attention from the steward. By that time they ran out of the options I was after and only had the vegetarian one. And like the idiot Paul faced mine said they had no curry dishes with added…”you’re all vegetarians” and laughed…and so did the guy who was sitting next to me. But I wasn’t laughing.

    Anyway I said don’t worry and the attendant walked just away without even asking me for anything more!?! On my way out I had a chat with the head stewardess or whatever ass clown was in charge and their response was pretty much like Paul’s one said.

    I avoided Qantas ever since…well that was a very first and last flight with them. Life’s good 🙂

  • Adam Campbell September 9, 2014, 11:57 pm

    Feeling singled out, or feeling made smaller in a public situation for a particular trait you were born with isn’t much fun, I feel bad you suffered that. Skinny/tall/fat/black/white/pretty/short/etc people are probably always going to face this happen at some point in their life. Be careful that your response to this situation doesn’t make you appear as racist as those you accuse. on news.com.au you are quoted as saying “I’m willing to bet on the demographic breakdown of who laughs and who doesn’t.” If that wasn’t meant as a racist comment, you might want to consider there’s a whole stack of people who think it IS a racist comment. The perspective may help you find your way back to your own moral safe ground, or it may help you re-assess your part in how we all interact.
    Either way, thanks for sharing your story, it’s a good conversation piece!

  • DaZ September 10, 2014, 12:08 am

    Next time you go to the domestic airports at Sydney go to the Qantas one and then go to the Virgin/Jetstar one. There is one extremely obvious difference. Qantas is generally travelled by middle/older aged white Australians whereas Virgin/Jetstar is everyone else. As an Asian Australian it is very obvious walking through the terminal.

    Personally, I don’t mind Qantas, however this I believe is one reason that they are making such losses. They are not shifting their target market – whilst their existing demographic is generally more affluent their are a heap of non-white professionals that they do not target.

  • Tim September 10, 2014, 12:20 am

    I’m an Asian myself and probably wouldn’t be offended if the “joke” was actually funny. As it was quoted what the guy said I wouldn’t even categorize as a joke.

    As a comedian I think you should be even more insulted that he is trying to define it as a joke. I would be. After all we need standards. At a live show that wouldn’t even be a good heckle.

  • Warren September 10, 2014, 12:24 am

    I think it was an extremely unprofessional, unnecessary, and racist comment. You have every right to call him on it. I’m an Aussie, and yes, this country has racist people, but there are good ones too 🙂

    • Paul Ogata September 10, 2014, 1:21 am

      It’s like anywhere, really. I’ve met wonderful people in Australia. However, this whole incident seems to be bringing the others out.

  • MIRROR MIROIR September 10, 2014, 12:45 am

    Mr Ogata, as an Asian who lived in Australia for twenty years I can vividly picture what you went through and the expression of those Australian passeners around you. They were not always like that, but there has been a huge change in the country on many levels that effected everyone. My aged parents have abandoned their permanent visa after seeing some old people going homeless in the eastern suburb which is the upmarket area of Sydney. It is too long to write here, but I just wanted you to know that you were not signled out to be ridiculed. Regards

  • GParker September 10, 2014, 12:54 am

    What a contemptible fucking tosser you are. Fuck off back to wherever you think you belong. Maybe you should turn your sensitivity knob down from ‘extreme public reaction’ to normal. What a fucking joke a comedian taking this bullshit to issue. Shame on you.

    • hahaha September 10, 2014, 1:10 am

      go fuck yourself your white cunt. oh wait, cunts a pink, you’re pale. you’re worse than a cunt. get the joke?

    • evanism September 10, 2014, 1:13 am

      I will speak for all Aussies that are not wankers like this self-diddler. GParker, buy a shovel, dig a hole and set yourself alight in it. You will find very few people who would even be bothered to piss on you to put it out. Its knuckle dragging inbred cousin marrying jug blowing assholes like you that are dragging us down. Do us a favour and fuck off yourself mate.

    • Paul Ogata September 10, 2014, 1:19 am

      Hi Gerald Parker. I bet if you quiet down over there at the Small Business Venture Trust and listen carefully to the cupboard, you can hear the pot talking to the kettle. Also, I’m confused, is “tosser” a bad or good thing? You seem overly interested in my sensitivity knob.

    • GlenD September 10, 2014, 2:13 am

      GParker, you’re probably the pillow-biting boyfriend of the racist fag Qantas flight attendant that tried his pathetic attempt at humour on Paul. I’m a round-eye whitey, and I’m a tad racist, but I find this incident deplorable, and indicative of how Qantas treats it’s customers. I should know, I’ve racked up over a million miles in the air, many of them with Qantas. I fly Virgin now. Less fags, less racism, better food.

      • Steve A September 10, 2014, 7:14 am

        You say you’re not racist but I’m going to hazard a guess here and say 100% of homosexuals would find your comment WAY more offensive then the alleged comments of the flight attendant.

        So racist=bad, homophobia =OK ?

      • mike September 11, 2014, 3:39 pm

        you have your points. so i think it is another side of the story. i do think the attendant wasn’t nice at all. at least , he should be more professonal instead to
        say some cheap jokes.

      • jay September 12, 2014, 2:59 pm

        And you, little man, encompass everything that is wrong with Australia, you pathetic suburban bigot.

    • Nom nom nom September 10, 2014, 3:53 am

      You’re such a dick!

  • Shane September 10, 2014, 1:30 am

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. I’ve always felt that Qantas treated its Asian customers rudely and with disdain. For them to do this is just ridiculous. It’s funny why Alan Joyce wonders why the airline keeps making a loss! Horrible customer service.

    I’d never fly them because it’s just a poor service airline even though I’m Australian. Virgin Australia all the way!

    And by the way, JetStar is no better.

    • mike September 11, 2014, 3:43 pm

      well said. beside racist, it is not good service at all.

  • Super Piglet September 10, 2014, 1:34 am

    I don’t think he’s intentionally racist. He’s joking. Was it a good joke? No. It’s in bad taste and very presumptuous (Just coz he thinks he is funny, so should everyone else). But this is actually common with Qantas air crew. For an international flght, they should be better trained than this.

    I am Asian Aussie. As a rule, I avoid flying Qantas internationally. The attitude of most of their flight attendants are horrible. Bad taste joke, unprofessional, insincere, and sometimes feel like they look down on you. And if you ever get caught up in any flight delay/reroute requiring change of crews, start praying. Or better yet, just switch airline and claim insurance.

  • Jason Biggs September 10, 2014, 1:48 am

    It seems you actually don’t have a sense of humour, which means you should not have chosen this country as your place of residence. Feel free to leave before you destroy it for the rest of us. Small minded, petty idiot.

    • Evanism September 10, 2014, 7:22 am

      Here is a small sample of the sense of humour “Jason Biggs” brings to our country….

      Foul. rotten. racism.

      Bogan. Trivia.

      “Go home you’zze dooodz”.

      Yooze. Dooodddze.

      I can see Jason swigging his VB in his blue singie in front of the ute. Right in front of his coal mine. Glorious.

      How about you go back to your convict past, make yourself a cat-o-nine to get 50 and come back a restored man. No? Too hard to understand?

      Perhaps when you understand the full totality of this last sentence you will gain a glimour of what it means to be oppressed…. BUT I suspect, your peanut sized intellect, nay, the single celled paramecium in your underdeveloped grunt-node of a brain could barely understand the words I say… so, back to brick laying or coal shoveling my blue t-shirt wearing sweaty friend. Dig, you foul dog, dig.

      ug. ug. grunt.

      • Jason Biggs September 11, 2014, 4:50 am

        Well Evanism, I’m not even going to dignify this drivel with a proper response. Next time you see your mother please be sure to ask her why she didn’t give her meth intake a break while pregnant with your worthless foetus that has become the utter fuckup that is you.

  • James Satellite September 10, 2014, 1:48 am

    I’m a new Zealander, I was hugely offended on a Qantas flight when I was asked why I didn’t want the lamb. Then I realised that I’m not trying to get my name in the newspapers before I arrive in a country as a performer, so I didn’t tweet about it.

  • Floater September 10, 2014, 2:21 am

    Australians are closeted racist. You often hear “I’m not racist, but …” just to justify everything.

    • mike September 11, 2014, 3:22 pm

      just like i heard, ” i am not racist , you see , i am even talking to you” Australians always say.

  • Ric September 10, 2014, 3:21 am

    So, got any proof? It is obvious you don’t know what racism is. Asking people to wear afro wigs and blacken their face to look like their favourite Fijian player is not racism. People dress like Elvis, and impersonate him, is that racism? I don’t know why you even ordered a meal, you could have eaten that huge fucking chip on your shoulder.

  • Jac September 10, 2014, 3:28 am

    Australians have a unique sense of humour unfortunately Americans have no sense of humour at all! You’re in our country our, customs our stupid sense of humour! Americans expect us to tip in their country – I say get used to our sense of humour!

    People are a bit precious! Being a comedian I expected him to have a thicker skin!!!!

  • John Doe September 10, 2014, 3:47 am

    Mr Ogata, firstly I think you are a little bit over reacting. As per your photo there was an asian style chicken on the menu. We Australians tend to short everything, that’s why you ended up with asian chicken. Maybe it was his favourite dish and he was a bit disappointed with your negative respond. Secondly, I have a feeling that all that drama you just have started is aiming to grab media’s attention and promote your shows for free. Well, it is not nice to get somebody fired just to sell a few more tickets, but hey business is business. Thirdly, just wonder if there is a board of comedians or some other body controlling you guys. I got a bit offended with your racial remarks, calling one of us a ‘white’ australian is not a proper thing to do. We have past that point in the history and there is no white, green Australian or whatever colour you want to name, we are one, we are Australians.

    • mike September 11, 2014, 3:32 pm

      haha, i think you are more dramatic . as all we know, Australians were racists in a long history. Austrians used not to take any non-white immigrants .so just like some Australians say, i am not redneck because my neck is red.

  • Mobie September 10, 2014, 5:41 am

    Racism is a cancer. If you don’t stop it, it spreads. If you don’t notice it in Australia, you’re probably burying your head in a hole.
    Have you been told to go back to where you come from? If you’re white, probably not. Only whites seems to think they the country belong to them and no other “coloured”. Even if they have seized the land from the locals who are definitely not white!
    If you read the news: “Asians buying up local property, pushing out locals.” Yeah – the few non whites get spotted. But the whites who are Canadians/Americans/English in the group aren’t pointed out.
    Read the news again- white caucasians are called expats while other “colours” are always called zzz(insert Asian country) borned immigrants.
    All you need is subtle racism everyday and it inserts itself into our daily lives. It then becomes “OK”. Need proof again? F-bomb is so common these days that people hardly raise an eyebrow.

  • Ni September 10, 2014, 8:39 am

    I flew from Singapore to Brisbane with Qantas last week and found all of the staff to be friendly and professional. I was also very pleased with their variety of menu options for people with special diets (I personally chose the ‘strict Indian vegetarian’ option).

    I think it’s possible that a flight attendant a comment that Paul took offence to, however I think it’s highly unlikely that it was said with the intention of offending anyone. I would be surprised if a flight attendant said something to me that I felt was aimed at deliberately offending me, yet if this occurred, I would either have a quiet word with them or their manager during the flight.

    It seems to me that the real reason for this story is there is a little known comedian with an upcoming Australian tour, who is clutching at straws to get publicity. Do what you’ve gotta do to get ahead Paul, but I think it would be better if you do it without harming (the reputation of) others.

    Either way, I have had nothing but good experiences with Qantas and I don’t think a remark from one employee reflects the professionalism of the airline as a whole. And no, I don’t work for Qantas or any other airline.

    I’m also inclined to agree with those who pointed out that some of Paul’s statements quoted in the news story actually sound more racist than a flight attendant asking a passenger whether they’d prefer Asian style chicken (whether intended as a joke or simple inquiry).

    • Paul Ogata September 10, 2014, 9:03 am

      I can’t believe everyone figured out my genius plan to get media attention in Sydney after my shows in Sydney were already over. Does everyone in Australia have a time machine and like to go see comedy shows in the past solely based on the comedian complaining about racism? Because that’s a vital part of my genius plan.

      • John Doe September 10, 2014, 2:42 pm

        Well, apparently you’re in Australia till 21/9 so you still have a few shows to sell? Did you know that Australia is not only Sydney and the news published there are still read elsewhere??

        • Paul Ogata September 10, 2014, 4:19 pm

          Hi John Doe. Yes, I’m aware that Australia is more than Sydney. Now here’s some things you may not be aware of:
          • Promotion of the other shows are out of my hands and those shows sell on their own. This media circus doesn’t affect ticket sales.
          • I didn’t go to the media and ask them to run this story. I posted it to followers on social media.
          • The idea that I could somehow coerce a complete stranger to say racist things to me in public just so I could then not alert the media in hopes that they would broadcast my story anyway and I could then harness the resulting negative energy being hurtled towards me in some Rube Goldberg-esque method to promote shows, the attendance of which I have no control over, is hilarious. Quit your day job and come on tour with me.

  • Ni September 10, 2014, 9:01 am

    In addition Paul, when you get up on stage and make fun of the people in the audience based on cultural and ethnic stereotypes, putting on funny/bad accents…are you saying these racist comments to offend people? No, I don’t think so. You are doing it as a joke, to make people laugh and that’s cool ….but who’s really the pot calling the kettle black?

    • evanism September 10, 2014, 9:20 am

      Next time you go up to a teller at a bank and you deposit a few grand in cash, they can say “so, your Triad is working well for you today?”. How about when you buy some fertiliser for the garden and you are Arabic? No SO FUCKING FUNNY THEN.

      Ni, expose your “ethnic stereotype” and I will take the entire day to pay out on you. A merciless tirade of crass vulgar bullshit that ties up your entire life, then I’ll ensure the police, the customs, the postie, the fish-and-chip-shop keep a very close eye on you…..

      Wont be a joke then, will it mate?

      remain in the majority, you are safe… for now….

  • Timbo September 10, 2014, 2:50 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Just wanted to say I read the article on a news site this morning. That’s just not cricket, the flight attendant should have known better. Also the pack mentality that kicked in around you is just poor form. I am white and guarantee if I had had been there you wouldn’t have been the only one locked in the loo guarded by the air marshal.

    As a nation we take the piss out of everyone, but everything is situational; i.e. a comedian being “racist” (cultural satire) on stage where is expected and that’s what people are paying to see or someone just being plain racist. I completely agree it’s racist and I hope that your experiences in country are better.

  • Mochiko Chicken Head September 10, 2014, 3:19 pm

    I am not easily offended as I used to be the offender so I understand that things sometimes get blurted out because it sounded funny in their head. It’s not right, but I get how it happens. For the most part, people knew I was joking with my inappropriate comments, but there were a handful of times where someone was really hurt & offended by what I said. As soon as I noticed that they were uncomfortable, I quickly and sincerely apologized to rectify the situation.

    I’ve been in the customer service industry for the past 25 years. The beginning was rough because I was so used to saying anything and everything. I learned through experience that the people didn’t know me; therefore, they didn’t know my personality or my sense of humor. I had to find my filter and figure out how to deal with all the international customers. Just because the place I grew up in had a certain way of thinking and/or talking doesn’t mean that the people from other states / countries would feel the same way. I now know that being in the customer service industry and working with people from all over the world, it’s just best to just keep it professional. You never know who’s listening. Some get offended even when the comment wasn’t made to them. Just overhearing someone else’s conversation may offend many. Just keep the comments to yourself. Businesses should train their employees to always remain professional while working or in uniform.

    For those that are upset that you blogged about this situation simply don’t understand because they were not affected by it. I’m sure many things that offend them wouldn’t bother you or I. No one cares unless it happens to them or someone they love. It’s not your fault that the media found interest in your story. They wouldn’t interview and print something unless they wanted people to know about it. It’s not like any Joe Schomo with an irrelevant story can have it printed in the paper. Hopefully your experience will enlighten some and make them want to change to better their country or themselves.

    The world needs more people like you to speak up & stand up for the rest of us followers!!! Most of us are too scared to say anything. We just sit there, choose not to do anything about it, yet we complain to our friends and family. If you’re not going to stand up for what you believe in, don’t complain at all!!

    Out of curiosity, did the airline ever contact you regarding your experience with them? If so, please let us know how they handled the situation.

  • Jack September 10, 2014, 3:46 pm

    You’re lucky Qantas actually responded to your issue, they just ignored mine when I wrote about a similar incident. I was returning to Australia from my trip to China (visiting relatives). At breakfast they had two choices, Asian noodles or bacon and egg, being raised in Australia I had my mind set on the rashers.

    When the flight attendant came over, he didn’t even ask and handed me the Asian noodles then saying “you’re Asian so here’s the asian noodles”, he left to serve other customers before I could even respond. Eventually I got hold of another flight attendant who gave me what I wanted.

    I wrote a complaint to Qantas but never heard back from them.

    Wonder if it’s the same guy???

  • Mochiko Chicken Head September 10, 2014, 4:19 pm

    Also, these people are getting carried away with believing that this incident will get the guy fired. They’ll only talk to him & maybe give him a warning if this is his first complaint. If he’s had similar complaints in the past and did not heed the warning, well then he deserves to be fired.

  • FukAussie September 10, 2014, 9:58 pm

    Why the hell did you go to Australia? It’s third world English speaking country. Aussies can’t make shit for themselves. Their cars are Honda and Toyota. Their cells phones are Samsung and Apple. Their computers are Dell, HP, Sony, Toshiba and Lenovo. Their warships are British built and Their jet fighters are US manufactured. Aussies can only do one thing the best – tagging along with their American and British big brothers.

  • jeff September 11, 2014, 3:21 am

    I had a bad experience with qantas flight attendant in a flight from new Zealand to sydney last year also. A woman attendant stared at me and my wife in a way people will feel uncomfortable when we were filling custom forms, she just keep staring for at least 10 seconds and lead us to think maybe she want us to fold the tables. And we folded them and she moved away. Maybe it’s not safe to use the table when plane is about to start depending, but I’m cleared the plane is still far away from landing, at least 20 minutes away, and there was no broadcasting from captain mentioning they’re starting depending or landing whatever. I’m not sure this is a racist case or not, maybe she will did the same to other people, but it doesn’t seem like she will act the same if we are white passengers. And I think this is a reasonable mistake all passengers may make and she should be polite.

    Maybe this is the consequences we fill our custom forms, bur it will be another consequences that we will avoid to flight with qantas.

  • Qantas Sucks September 11, 2014, 3:48 am

    Im with you Paul, even if Qantas is cheaper im flying Virgin Australia

  • Pecky September 11, 2014, 1:53 pm

    Oh my…… So many voices. I don’t usually read the comments section but since it was you and I have jet lag (and time on my hands at 4a.m.) thought I’d see the reactions. I’ve experienced this type of stupidity plenty of times because people assume all kinds of things when they hear my accent. And when those people are ‘on stage’ as that Attendant was, stupidity often wins. I understood the scenario you explained but must say John Doe added a whole new element with his suggestion that maybe this was the attendants favorite dish and he felt slighted that you hadn’t ordered it. Did you ever consider that Paul? It might be key. He probably said that to everybody who didn’t order his favorite dish.

    • Mochiko Chicken Head September 11, 2014, 5:11 pm

      Um…that’s just lame! John Doe’s suggestion is extremely idiotic! If it were his favorite dish, he would express how good it tastes or at least compliment it in some way in order to sway someone’s choice from beef to chicken. Not tell someone that they’re a DISGRACE! If he was asked which dish is better, then he should give his opinion. If he wasn’t asked, he should STFU & give the PAYING customer what he ordered!

      • Pecky September 11, 2014, 9:57 pm

        Awwww, oops you didn’t understand that I was joking. Of course it’s ridiculous – that was the joke. We’re on the same page, delivered differently.

        • Mochiko Chicken Head September 11, 2014, 10:24 pm

          Ahhhh…got it!! Lol.

  • D.T September 11, 2014, 5:50 pm


  • Oshoo September 13, 2014, 6:35 am

    Ogata-san, by reading non-white people’s comments and recollecting my personal experiences, I can assume Australia is a tougher place to live for colored than the U.S. However, non-biased nice people are there too. I don’t mean to say we colored should be patient for discrimination-like treatment as you had experienced. But let’s look for someone’s good points or the country’s good points to make your(our) life happier! Though you are there on business, you’re lucky to travel the country with full of wilderness and differences. Enjoy your stay and stay away from Vegemate! I will pray for your success on stay and business from Niigata, Japan. P.S. Did you try Kangaloo meat?

    • Paul Ogata September 14, 2014, 12:23 am

      Oh, I’m having a blast. I keep saying it, but bears repeating: it’s a beautiful country and I’m meeting great people. I tried kangaroo meat before, oddly enough in Germany. Aloha!

      • Nemoto Eiichi September 14, 2014, 4:46 am

        Kangaroo, right? Such a typical Japanese English mistake I made. And I am a high school English teacher to be honest!? So ashamed. Anyway, as the same origin as you are, I am so proud that you are being successful in an entertainment world in the U.S. where the competition/survival is so severe. Isaid the similar comments to all the colored people in the U.S. A black man I met looked at me skeptically, With my additional explanation, he understood what I really wanted to say. Please never to be too “Ganbatte.”

  • andrewjgrimm September 13, 2014, 8:15 am

    To help with any boycotting, Qantas is the sole owner of JetStar, has a one third stake in JetStar Japan, and has stakes in other “JetStar (place)” airlines.

  • K. YAMAMOTO September 14, 2014, 11:21 pm

    Most of the Asian do not think so when they heard the words of the crew of Qantas.
    Do not impose *vulgar comedy sense of you guys* to Asian!

  • Michael Cooper November 8, 2015, 5:07 pm

    Whites are so racist. Blackface says it all. Melanesian (Black Islander) Pride!!!

  • Roger December 8, 2016, 11:13 pm

    Quantas staff are rude unhelpful cunts. Worst in the world after lufthansa

  • John January 26, 2017, 12:22 pm

    Great article well written

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