Instagram has banned the account belonging to prominent anti-masker Chris Saccoccia, a man quickly becoming one of Canada’s biggest conspiracy exports.
A spokesperson for Facebook (which owns Instagram) confirmed to VICE World News that the company removed Saccoccia’s account on Tuesday.
Saccoccia, a mid-30s man from the Toronto area who goes by Chris Sky online, has recently guest-hosted the conspiracy show InfoWars and is a headlining speaker at numerous anti-mask rallies across the country. Instagram was his primary account for spreading conspiracies; he had over 250,000 followers on the platform at the time of deletion.
“We removed Chris Saccoccia from Instagram for multiple violations of our Community Standards,” a Facebook spokesperson told VICE World News. “We will not tolerate content on our platform about COVID-19 that could lead to harm, including harmful vaccine misinformation and content promoting widely debunked hoaxes.”
Saccoccia regularly encouraged his followers to not follow COVID-19 rules, like wearing a mask, getting tested after traveling, or abiding by curfews. He would also post videos of himself abusing retail workers trying to enforce their companies’ mask policies and screaming at police officers who would ticket him for breaking COVID regulations.
The spokesperson said any of Saccoccia’s future accounts will also be deleted.
Over the past year Saccoccia, the wealthy son of the owner of the property development company SkyHomes, has grown into one of the faces of Canada’s lockdown movement. The childless man confusingly was the founder of the large anti-mask group, Mothers Against Distancing (which was also deleted from Facebook recently). He helped organize numerous stunts, including anti-mask raves, created “mask exemption cards,” tried to make an anti-mask private school system, and organized events where people shopped en mass without masks.
As of late, Saccoccia has been more focused on building his brand as a conspiracy-addled e-celebrity than helping to organize anti-lockdown protests.
“He hasn’t been able to go to Toronto protests, where he got famous, since January due to bail conditions supposedly,” said anti-fascist researcher Drew, who did not provide his last name out of fear of reprisal. “Since the Toronto protest movement has grown back in the past month after a lull in the winter, they’ve been trying to portray themselves as a leaderless movement.”
On Twitter, Saccoccia said he thinks his Instagram account was removed in an effort to stop a cross-country tour he’s currently on. Saccoccia is currently forced to drive across the country as he was recently placed on Canada’s no-fly list after being involved in several anti-mask stunts on aircraft.
“Instagram just disabled my main account because they know I’m about to get to Calgary,” he says in a bumpy video he made on Tuesday while behind the wheel of his truck. He advised viewers to follow his backup Instagram account, which was also quickly removed much to his displeasure.
“SURPRISE THEY ARE SO SCARED OF ME SPEAKING IN CALGARY AND VANCOUVER THEY ARE DELETING ALL MY SOCIAL MEDIA,” he wrote in all caps. “AND THEY SHOULD BE.”
The news comes after several large events in the anti-lockdown movement. On Sunday in Montreal, intense protests against the curfew resulted in riots, while in Edmonton a large group of angry protesters came out in support of a church closed by Alberta Health Services after the pastor refused to acquiesce to pandemic regulations.
Saccoccia isn’t the only figure in the Canadian conspiracy community to be punished by a social media platform this week. The far-right Canadian YouTube channel Rebel Media claims it was demonetized and received a one-week ban from YouTube. Rebel Media did not indicate why they were banned but recently had a tense interaction with police in Montreal for breaking COVID-19 regulations.
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