Qantas will support legal action against over racism claim

Australian airline Qantas says it will pay for a lawsuit against if the flight attendant he publicly accused of racism wants to sue.

The Black Eyed Peas star complained on Twitter after being reprimanded for failing to comply with instructions on a recent Brisbane - Sydney flight, publishing the name of the cabin crew member and using the hashtag #RacistFlightattendant.

Australia, like New Zealand, has strict defamation laws with those accused often ordered by the courts to pay out those claiming reputational damage - but launching such legal action can be very costly.

However, Qantas has stated it's happy to foot the bill for its employee, unless retracts his accusation.

"We rejected claims of racism and have since asked for a retraction of that claim," the airline said in a statement published by multiple media outlets.

"We fully support our crew and the great work they do ensuring safety of all those on board. Absent a retraction, and if the crew member wanted to take the matter further, we'd certainly be willing to provide legal support for them to do this."

Although he has not responded to Qantas' statement, has engaged on Twitter with many people responding to his claims, including those who have suggested he'll face legal action.

"Disgusting that you've publicly named her. I hear a lawsuit coming," tweeted @LukeeWelch.

"If I did something wrong or if I was the slightest bit rude to a fan or a journalist during work, I would be publicly named. This is what Twitter is for," replied the 'I Gotta Feeling' singer.

"We are supposed to call out wrongdoings so we can have a safer, more compassionate world." had claimed he complied with crew instructions immediately after hearing them, which was delayed due to his use of noise-cancelling headphones. He thought being questioned by police following the flight over the matter was "a bit much" and that the flight attendant was "overly aggressive" due to his being a person of colour.

Following criticism of his publicly naming the flight attendant, has defended his actions by saying he was speaking out on behalf of those less fortunate than himself. 

"I don't regret my actions of taking to public to speak for the other for those who don't have the voice who felt the same disrespect," he said.

The singer has not deleted the tweet naming the woman.