(NBC NEWS) – American Airlines kicked a Michigan family off a plane in Florida on Wednesday night over what the airline said were complaints from other passengers about their body odor.
Yossi Adler, his wife, Jennie, and their 19-month-old daughter were seated on a Miami-to-Detroit flight when ground crew asked them to step off the plane — and then the door closed behind them.
“They said, ‘Sir, people have complained that you have body odor,'” Adler told NBC News on Thursday. “I said: ‘Excuse me? I need to get home. There is no body odor on me.'”
The family, in Florida for a vacation, made it back to Detroit on Thursday and the airline stood behind its decision.
“The Adler family were asked to deplane last night after several passengers, along with our crew members, complained about their body odor,” American Airlines said in a statement. “The family were provided hotel accommodations and meals, and re-booked on a flight to Detroit today.”
Yossi Adler — a 36-year-old business consultant from Southfield, Michigan — accused the airline of singling out his family because they’re Jewish. He used his cellphone to tape his argument with the ground crew shortly after they were taken off the plane.
“There’s a religious reason for some reason that they’re kicking me off the plane. We don’t have odor, OK? Nobody here has odor,” Adler is heard saying on the video he shot.
Moments, later a ground crew member asked, “Now you told me for religious reasons you don’t shower, is that what you said?”
Adler responded: “No I didn’t! I shower every day. I said you kicked me off because of religious reasons.”
American Airlines insisted that body odor, not religion, was behind Wednesday night’s actions.
Back home in the Detroit on Thursday, Alder insists he didn’t smell on Wednesday night and that he and his wife bathe first thing every morning.
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“And they still haven’t said which one of us they said had body odor. Was it me, my wife, my baby?” he said.
Meanwhile, the University of Houston on Thursday defended an engineering professor who urged students — especially those from India and southeast Asia — to be aware of body odor issues.
The message was sent to graduate engineering students, NBC affiliate KPRC reported.
“People from India use lots of spices and people from other Southeast Asian countries use lot of garlic which has lots of health benefits,” according to a message. “However, there is one problem. The body odor due to consumption of these foods becomes strong.”
The school said the message was sent in 2017 and no disciplinary action was taken against the professor.
“Personal hygiene is a sensitive topic and every culture has accepted standards,” the university said in a statement to NBC News on Thursday. “The message posted by a professor for graduate students was shared with good intentions and meant to help any student avoid a potentially embarrassing or awkward situation by making them aware of the hygiene practices that prevail in the U.S.”
“As the second most diverse public research institution in the country, we are committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive and respectful environment for the UH community to live and learn.”