A new low for the human race.

Honestly, I should just make an series on this blog to showcase all of the reasons why Influencers are idiots. Because there are a lot of them. There are stories which anger me, there are stories that annoy me and then there are stories that make me wonder how I am the same species as some people.

An ‘Influencer’ (we all know I use that term lightly) and aspiring rapper from Ontario was recently detained at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport due to a stunt he pulled on a plane headed for Jamaica that he hoped would make him go viral.

Approximately 30 minutes from landing in Montego Bay, Jamaica, WestJet Flight 2702 (Toronto to Montego Bay) was rerouted back to Toronto.

Why?

James Potok stood up in the back of the plane to exclaim that he had just gotten back from China and was not feeling well, and that he thought he might have Corona Virus.

Potok’s buddy actually filmed the stunt because they had hopes of releasing the video of his ‘prank’ to his YouTube channel and it would make him an internet sensation.

Being the idiot that he is, Potok thought everyone would laugh it off, he’d sit back down and land in Jamaica for a nice holiday, which he exclaimed was to ‘film his new music video’.

Oh no, no, no.

Infectious disease protocols require that any plane must return to it’s originating city unless there is imminent risk of death to one or more passengers on board. Furthermore, the infected passenger must be quarantined and ALL passengers are subject to medical evaluation upon landing.

Jamaica, an Island Nation, certainly isn’t going to let someone land in their country with an infectious disease that could spread throughout the rest of the tiny country. So, the plane turned around and returned to Toronto. More than 200 people had their holidays delayed, put on hold or cancelled and Potok’s response was ‘I’m an artists… any publicity is good publicity’.

There are three important notes to point out here:

  1. More than 200 people were forced to sit on a plane for several hours (as it returned home to Toronto) with someone who’d claimed that he had an infectious disease, a disease that they could very well have caught by just being in proximity to him.
  2. Those people were then subject to medical evaluations, as precautionary measure, after it was learned this was all a hoax, thus delaying their abilities to get on new flights, or rearrange their travel plans. Many people didn’t just miss a day or two of their holiday but there were at least a dozen people on that flight who were headed to Jamaica for a wedding and were not able to get to the wedding because of this.
  3. More than 200 people were stranded in Jamaica, unable to return home to go back to work on time, or back to their lives because the plane that was supposed to drop people off in Jamaica and pick up passengers to fly back to Toronto never got there. Work was missed, and people were in panic mode trying to secure childcare because they thought they were going to be home several days before they were actually all able to get home. They had to spend extra money to stay extra nights in Jamaica because of this, and it could take up to a year for the airline to reimburse them for this, if they get reimbursed at all.

As you can tell from the #VirusBoy and #WuhanClan that are new additions to his Instagram Bio, James Potok clearly shows a great deal of remorse for what he did.

Here’s what he had to say in the airport after returning home, getting medical clearance that he did not, in fact have corona virus, and being detained by Canadian authorities:

Look at the smug written all over his face…

It’s worth noting that Potok is being charged with mischief and breach of recognizance and is due in Ontario Provincial Court on March 9th for the stunt he pulled. But, I really don’t think that he cares.

To take his manipulation even a step further into the territory of shiteous human being, and, in his words ‘to say sorry for all of the hassle [he’s] caused’, he’s now claiming to be giving away $5,000 on his Instagram page. All you have to do is like and follow his account, his friend’s account who was on the flight to shoot the video they hoped would go viral, and to like his post, tag three friends and share the post to your own Instagram.

God, if I were a lawyer right now, that would be cataloged as Exhibits A through Z of why he’s not sorry for what he’s done, shows no remorse and is currently trying to capitalize on the attention he’s received for his careless, dangerous stunt.

I mean, how am I the same species as this person?

Could you imagine believing you were trapped on a plane (a tiny sky tin with recirculating air) with someone who potentially had an infectious disease? As someone who suffers from anxiety, those several hours flying back to Toronto would have been the worst hours of my life. Imagine the people on board with babies, or the elderly people on board who’s immune system’s are, at times, weaker than the rest of us. Imagine the torture of having to fly back to Toronto wondering the whole time, worrying the whole time.

And to the 179 people who commented on his ‘Instagram Giveaway’ tagging their friends, you also need a lesson in basic human decency.

As far as I’m concerned, this smug idiot should have his social media accounts shut down. I’d love it if Instagram just outright deleted his account and if YouTube just deleted his channel. People like this deserve to fade into obscurity somewhere.

Point of Note – When asked if he felt sorry for what happened, Potok proclaimed that his joke was taken out of context and that he was talking about a Chinese Food restaurant and that he had food poisoning. Though it’s on video him saying ‘I think I have Corona Virus’, he’s currently trying to tell the news outlets, and the world through his online platforms, that he never said anything about corona virus.

Given this is basically all online at this point, I can’t wait to, in a month’s time, hear that a judge used his Instagram and YouTube messages against him and that he’s being charged criminally.

And honestly, if I were WestJet, he’d be on a no-fly list for life and I’d go after him to seek damages for all of the reimbursements to other travellers they had to make and are going to have to make, because of his stunt.

This disease has killed more than 500 people worldwide. And all that is to him is a means to get more Instagram followers…

*Additional Note: To the people tired of me ragging Influencers, I’d be happy to share some good stories about Influencers, I just don’t know any. I wholeheartedly believe that people who use their influence for good don’t seek credit/internet fame for what they do. But, if you have a lovely story of an Influencer using their influence for good, please share. I’d love to shine a light on it.