Canadian airlines are reportedly refusing to fly a group of influencers home after they posted videos partying maskless on a chartered Sunwing flight. The resulting backlash caused the airline to cancel the group's flight home, and no airlines are willing to fly the partiers home.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the issue during a press conference on Wednesday, calling the influencers "idiots" and describing their freewheeling party videos a "slap in the face" at a time when hospitals are overrun with Covid-19 patients.
USA Today reported the story.
In the video, the partiers are singing, dancing, vaping and passing around a bottle of vodka while onboard the airplane on the way to Cancun.
The group is now stuck in the Mexico resort town seeking a way to get home.
Several Canadian airlines have justified their decisions not to fly the influencers home in public statements.
Air Transat posted a Twitter message saying it was prioritising its obligation to passenger and crew safety by refusing to fly the group home. Air Canada issued a similar statement, saying it would deny flights to "the extent that we can identify the passengers who were part of the group”.
One of the stranded passengers, Rebecca St Pierre, 19, told The Canadian Press that she is stranded in Mexico. She also admitted that she has tested positive for Covid-19 and said she believed 30 of the other passengers had tested positive as well.
She claimed that she was on the trip as part of a contest on Instagram held by media influencer James William Awad.
Mr Awad said that it was a "simple party" in a Twitter post, but said that he would "take a moment to sit down and rethink everything. Especially how I can do things better next time."
In addition to being stranded in Mexico with numerous individuals who tested positive for Covid-19, some of the individuals may face fines as well.
Transport Canada issued a public statement saying it has been in contact with the airlines involved, stating that "fines of up to $5,000 per offence could be issued to passengers" if the department determines that there was non-compliance with national regulations.
"There will be a full investigation into exactly what went on in this situation," Mr Trudeau said during the news conference. "I think like all Canadians who have seen those videos, I’m extremely frustrated. We know how hard people have worked to keep themselves safe, to limit their family gatherings at Christmas time, to wear masks, to get vaccinated, to do all the right things, and it’s slap in the face to see people putting themselves, putting their fellow citizens, putting airline workers at risk by being completely irresponsible."
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