Three West Ham fans arrested on suspicion of hate crime over anti-Semitic song on plane at Stansted Airport
Two men were arrested by police at Stansted Airport over the weekend over a social media video showing West Ham fans chanting an anti-Semitic song at a Jewish man on an airplane.
A third man was arrested on Monday (Nov 8) after voluntarily attending a police station.
The Premier League club has issued interim bans following the arrests on suspicion of a public order offence and racially or religiously aggravated harassment.
The incident happened on Thursday (Nov 4) as West Ham fans were flying to Belgium to watch their side play Genk in the Europa League.
The chanting was filmed while the aircraft was still at the stand and passengers were taking their seats. In the clip, fans can be heard singing about arch rivals Tottenham, referencing genitalia and circumcision, while an Orthodox Jewish man walks down the aisle, the Jewish News reported.
Essex Police arrested two men at Stansted Airport: one aged 55 just before 4pm on Friday (Nov 5) as he stepped off a flight from Belgium and the other, aged 26, around 4.30pm on Saturday (Nov 6) as he returned from the Netherlands. Both have been released on police bail until December 1.
On Monday, a 31-year-old man from Dartford voluntarily attended a police station. He is currently in custody.
A police spokesperson said: "We immediately launched an investigation after being made aware of a video on social media of a man being subjected to harassment whilst taking his seat on board an aeroplane before it departed from Stansted Airport on 4th November.
Chief Superintendent Tom Simons, who is leading the investigation, said: “Essex Police will not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind. Having been made aware of the incident, officers worked quickly to secure an arrest at the earliest possible opportunity.”
The enquiry continues. Anyone with information or phone footage of the incident is asked to call the force on 101.
A West Ham spokesperson said: “West Ham United is appalled by the contents of the video circulating on social media and condemn the behaviour of the individuals involved.
“We continue to be unequivocal in our stance: we have a zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination. Any individuals identified will be issued with an indefinite ban from the club. Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the football club and we do not welcome any individuals who do not share those values.”