Aspiring social media star and rapper James Potok just got his fifteen minutes of fame, thanks to his prank on an international flight from Canada to Jamaica.
According to reports, 28-year-old man was arrested and is awaiting trial for causing a flight filled with almost 250 passengers to turn around after he made the following announcement:
“I just came back from Hunan province, the capital of the coronavirus… I’m not feeling too well. Thank you.”
This prompted action from the flight attendants, who immediately put Potok in a mask, gown, and gloves, and escorted him to another seat on the plane.
As for the captain, the pilot turned the plane around a full two hours into the flight to Jamaica to sort out what Potok did. They went back to Pearson International Airport in Toronto, where Potok was examined for symptoms of the infectious Wuhan coronavirus.
What exactly did James Potok do?
According to a report, Potok stood up two hours into the WestJet flight from Canada to Jamaica and called for people’s attention.
He stood up and announced that he had come from the virus epicenter and that he was not feeling well. This was all a prank, since he was not feeling symptoms of the 2019-nCoV ARD virus at all.
The Wuhan coronavirus, which has infected almost 30,000 people all over mainland China and has claimed 565 deaths as of publishing.
His actions, while shocking to most of the passengers, put into motion a series of protocols that flight crew had been briefed on, whenever someone would declare a medical emergency. Potok was given a mask and gloves to wear while the crew conferred, and they decided to head back to Toronto.
The flight crew reportedly exercised a lot of caution even if it were apparent that the man was pranking the flight, in light of the Wuhan coronavirus that has gripped the world in fear and shut down majority of flights in and out of China.
Why did James Potok make a Wuhan virus joke?
According to the aspiring rapper who has 11,000 listeners on Spotify, he said that he wanted to make a video go viral of his prank, and that he had done so before.
He said that he hoped to gain publicity from his stunt, and any sort of publicity would be good publicity.
In an interview, he recounted how he made similar video, but instead of speaking about something as serious as the Wuhan coronavirus, he simply mentioned that a popular rap artist’s album was released and that people should buy it.
According to Potok, he had hoped that people’s reactions would be enough to gain him notoriety, and that people would call him “badass” or that he “had balls.”
But he regretted his actions, and apologized for inconveniencing more than 250 people for a stunt to launch his career.
What did the other people on the flight say?
Most of the passengers on that WestJet flight were angry, since they were going to Jamaica for a holiday. “That was a good one” and “We could have been in the sun.” were said to Potok as he was lead away from the plane.
Potok, who styles himself Potok Phillippe on his social media, said that he realized he was wrong in retrospect and is going to court.