An influencer was arrested after he joked he had coronavirus on a busy flight

He was trying to go viral on Instagram

Instagrammer James Potok told a plane full of passengers he had coronavirus as a ‘joke’. His joke ended with the plane having to make an emergency landing and James being arrested.

James is an aspiring musician with over 30,000 Instagram followers. He thought making a joke about having the virus would cause him instant Internet fame. But all he got was arrested and pissed off 240 passengers.

On the plane from Toronto to Jamaica, James declared he had just come back from Wuhan and he wasn’t feeling well. He said: “Can I get everybody’s attention please. I just came back from Wuhan province, the capital of the coronavirus. I’m not feeling too well. Thank you.”

via Instagram @potokphillipe

James performed his little stunt half way through the flight. He filmed it on his iPhone and hoped to send it to 6ixbuzz so it would go viral.

Nobody laughed and after 15 minutes the cabin crew gave him a mask and gloves. According to a Facebook user the flight had to turn back to Canada as Jamaica and the US would not allow the plane to land after his comment.

James was then arrested and charged with mischief when they arrived back in Toronto. He said his comment was just a joke which people over reacted to. He also said it would have been worse if he’d said he had a bomb – obviously.

He said: “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.”

He has subsequently apologised. James said he didn’t realise coronavirus was an epidemic and he just thought it would spark a reaction. He said: “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 wasn’t the best thing to do.”

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