Blue singer Lee Ryan sentenced for calling black British Airways flight attendant ‘chocolate cookie’
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Blue singer Lee Ryan has been sentenced for calling a Black British Airways flight attendant ‘chocolate cookie’.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft, for which he was handed a four-month jail term to run concurrently.
After being refused more alcohol on the plane and told to return to his seat, Ryan made comments about flight attendant Leah Gordon’s looks, calling her a 'chocolate cookie' before grabbing her wrists.
As he sentenced him at Isleworth Crown Court, Judge Nicholas Wood said while the incident only lasted 10 or 15 minutes: "It seemed like a lifetime for everybody on that plane."
He ordered the singer to pay £2,500 compensation to Ms Gordon, £750 to Jade Smith, another member of the cabin crew, and £510 in costs.
As he arrived at Isleworth Crown Court today (28 September), Ryan attempted to conceal his face with a navy blue blazer as he entered the building.
He could be seen entering the court alongside a woman.
In January of this year, Ryan was found guilty at Ealing Magistrates' Court of racially aggravated common assault by beating and behaving in an abusive way towards the cabin crew member.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft.
In court, Ryan took to the stand and claimed his behaviour was 'not racist'.
He said: "I’m sorry. My band member is Black, I’m not racist, I’ve had Black girlfriends, mixed-race girlfriends. It was banter, just drunk banter I suppose, there was no malice or intention to upset anyone.
"I didn’t mean to cause any distress to anyone or be racist, it was just a poor choice of words I suppose."
The singer later said: "I am sorry that I touched her, but that’s all I did, touch her lightly, by her admission," while also insisting that there was 'no malice' in his comments.
District judge Tan Ikram said at the time: "The drunkenness is as serious as the charges he has been found guilty of.”
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org