Canadian man lied about having coronavirus to create viral video


This is the shocking moment an Instagram star is escorted off a plane in a mask and gloves for allegedly yelling he had coronavirus as part of a prank to go viral.  

Potok Philippe, real name James Potok, was arrested and charged with mischief on Monday after crew on board the WestJet plane from Toronto to Jamaica were alerted to his actions and the jet was forced to turn back.  A second flight was also cancelled as a result of the incident.

The 28-year-old, from Vaughan, told City News 'it was simply a joke' after he told the 243 passengers: 'Can I get everybodys attention please. I just came back from Hubei province, the capital of the coronavirus. Im not feeling too well. Thank you.' 

Potok, an aspiring musician who boasts more than 30,000 followers on Instagram, defended his actions, saying: 'It would be something else if I said hey guys I have a bomb strapped to me, I have a weapon on me, people blew it out of proportion. To me it was simply a joke.

'About mid-way through the flight I stood up, pulled my video camera out I was going to post it to Instagram, send it to 6ixbuzz so it goes viral.'

Within 15 minutes later airline staff asked him to put a mask and gloves on. 

Potok added: 'I'm very, very sorry for my ignorance and not understanding that its an epidemic, that people hear the word and its become synonymous with threats.

'I thought it would spark a reaction. I did not think what I was doing would be considered illegal [or] warrant that type of response. In retrospect it probably wasnt the best thing to do.'

Investigators from Peel Regional Police Airport Division Criminal Investigation Bureau confirmed Potok was assessed by medical staff upon arrival at Pearson Airport and deemed to be symptom free. 

Potok will appear at the Ontario Court of Justice on Monday, March 9.    

Const. Bancroft Wright told CBC: 'That announcement was shared by the flight crew to the captain and a decision was made for the plane to return back to Pearson [International Airport].' 

In a statement a WestJet spokesman said: 'Out of an abundance of caution, our crew followed all protocols for infectious disease on board, including sequestering an individual who made an unfounded claim regarding coronavirus.

'Due to the involvement of law enforcement, as well as the privacy of our guests, we are not able to provide additional information about the incident at this time.' 

Passenger Julie-Anne Broderick, pictured, said she saw Potok taking a picture and telling others he had coronavirus 

Passenger Julie-Anne Broderick said she saw a man taking a picture and telling others he had coronavirus. 

She added: 'The flight attendants came, gave him a mask and gloves and just told him that he had to move to the back of the plane.

'We were just over Florida and all of a sudden we felt the plane do a pretty dramatic turn. We were flying in the opposite direction all of a sudden and it said our final destination was back in Toronto. So we were very confused and worried.

'I guess this guy thought it was a funny joke but it's just really weird. We were all very frustrated, to just displace 240 people, it's just so selfish. We've lost a day of our vacation.'

She had posted on Facebook that the man 'pretended he had the coronavirus as a hoax to post to YouTube', adding: 'Little did he know, Jamaica and the US wouldn't accept our flight so back to Canada we can where he was detained for a federal offence...' 

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk

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