On February 3, a flight from Toronto to Jamaica had to be turned around because a passenger claimed to have coronavirus. The claim turned out to be a prank and the man was promptly arrested by Peel Regional Police. He's since been identified as 28-year-old James Potok. At this point, you might be wondering, who is James Potok anyway, and why did he do what he did?
The aspiring artist has nine tracks on Soundcloud, with the last one having been uploaded three months ago. He boasts 216 followers.
Similarly, his YouTube channel only hosts three music videos, with roughly 20,000 views and 721 subscribers. His music is also available on Spotify, where one song has over 115,000 plays.
Potok's verified Instagram account has over 35,000 followers in total. Since the incident on the plane, however, the account has been made private.
Apparently Potok pulled his coronavirus stunt in order to garner some attention. He said to Global News, "Any publicity for myself is good publicity."
Here's part of his interview with Global.
However, it didn't come without consequences. Potok was charged with mischief and breach of recognizance.
He did appear to show some remorse, however, saying "There’s all types of positions — people that are happy, people that are upset. But in the end, I ruined the people on the plane’s trip — so I’m extremely apologetic."
After promoting his behaviour in a number of tweets, many of the responses he's received have been critical, to say the least.
@potokphilippe "Upcoming artist" - more like a drake carbon copy, you shit stain attention whore.— zin says (@zin says)1580929122.0
@potokphilippe What a fucking idiot you must be. Another low tier trash attempting to pretend to be funny which obv… https://t.co/eSTNy2wOF7— Michikatsu Tsugikuni (@Michikatsu Tsugikuni)1580883841.0
@potokphilippe You do understand this childish prank is nothing to be proud of? You’ll be added to a no-fly list an… https://t.co/nYbiBF5Tdy— Jason Hilton (@Jason Hilton)1580845103.0
@potokphilippe You’re a complete and total fool. Civil suits will follow. You shame your parents and family. I’m… https://t.co/OCZqndYb7w— David Em (@David Em)1580910962.0
Potok has certainly gotten quite a bit of attention, but maybe not the kind he wanted.