Blue’s Lee Ryan ‘assaulted by passenger’ on flight after making ‘culturally insensitive’ mistake

The singer was ‘defended’ against the attack by his bandmates

Kate Ng
Sunday 09 July 2023 08:28 BST
Blue singer Lee Ryan found guilty of racially motivated assault

Lee Ryan, of the boy band Blue, was allegedly assaulted by a passenger while on a Turkish Airlines flight on Saturday (8 July).

The singer was allegedly attacked during the flight from Georgia to Istanbul after he “put his feet” on a seat and was “defended” by the other members of the band.

Ryan, 40, sustained an injury to his leg after the passenger allegedly “pushed him down a flight of stairs” after the plane landed, the band said in a statement.

The statement, posted to the band’s official Instagram account, read: “While on a flight from Georgia to Istanbul, Turkey, with Turkish Airlines today (Saturday 8 July 2023), Lee Ryan was physically assaulted by a male passenger.

“Lee and the rest of the band defended him from the attack, which continued after the plane had landed when the passenger pushed Lee down a flight of stairs causing an injury to his leg.

“Both parties were spoken to by the police in Turkey and to which Lee voluntarily gave a victim statement supported by the band.”

It continued: “Lee was not at any point arrested, detained or charged with any offence and after giving his statement, was free to continue his journey.

“The assault occurred after Lee had put his fee ton the seat which was considered culturally insensitive and for which Lee has apologised for any unknowing offence caused.”

Simon Webbe, Lee Ryan, Antony Costa and Duncan James from Blue attend the "Magic Of Christmas" at the London Palladium on November 26, 2022

It comes after Ryan was found guilty of racially aggravated assault on a British Airways air hostess while he was drunk on a plane.

In January, the court heard that the singer had drunk a whole bottle of port before getting on the delayed flight from Glasgow to London on 31 July 2022.

He told a flight attendant, who is Black, that he wanted “your chocolate children” and called her a “chocolate cookie” after he was refused more alcohol on the plane. After the flight attendant, Leah Gordon, told him to “stay away”, she said he grabbed both her wrists before passengers intervened.

Singer Lee Ryan has successfully applied to withdraw his guilty plea for drunkenly assaulting a police officer during his arrest for abusing a black flight attendant (PA)

Ryan was also accused of assaulting a police officer, after he allegedly tried to bite one of the officers who attempted to arrest him on his arrival at the airport.

He apologised in court and insisted he wasn’t racist because his band member Simon Webbe is Black and he has had “Black girlfriends, mixed-race girlfriends” in the past.

“I didn’t mean to cause any distress to anyone or be racist, it was just a poor choice of words, I suppose,” he said, adding that he had no recollection of most of the flight.

He has since withdrawn his guilty plea for drunkenly assaulting a police officer during his arrest. A decision on whether he will face a trial will be made this month.

Blue consists of Ryan, Webbe, Duncan James and Antony Costa.

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