An influencer recruited by a health establishment to promote health rules was dumped after he released a video showing him at the heart of a large gathering held on Le Plateau-Mont-Royal.
On November 14, the Montreal Police Department had to intervene to disperse hundreds of people gathered for the opening of the Mont Tacos restaurant on rue Saint-Denis.
The management of the establishment had called on influencers, including Yahya Maayouf, alias Art du malaise, to promote the event. In videos posted on Instagram, we can see the latter, without a mask, shaking hands and hugging participants.
However, this influencer was already putting his popularity at the service of the cause of public health. He worked with several organizations to promote among young people the importance of respecting health measures.
Among the organizations that appealed to the influencer, there is the CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. This establishment has since removed Mr. Maayouf’s portrait and photos from its website and social media.
“The CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal encourages everyone to respect the health instructions in force. These measures were issued by the provincial public health authorities in order to protect the most vulnerable populations from COVID-19, ”indicates by email Catherine Dion, communications advisor.
The management of the Saint-Léonard youth center also decided to terminate his contract with Yahya Maayouf.
“We learned of the events this morning [lundi 16 novembre]. He tries to have a positive influence with young people, and we encourage him in that. On the other hand, what happened is not compatible with his role within our organization ”, explains the director, Jolyane Molaison.
Acknowledge your mistakes
For his part, Yahya Maayouf admits his faults and understands the reaction of CIUSSS of the East and the Maison des jeunes.
“I made mistakes and I don’t want to blame anyone else. I forgot my job at the time, but I’m human above all. I didn’t want to challenge the government. ”
“I am someone who is supposed to represent public health. I do not want to take my responsibility away, but rather that people try to understand me. When you’re in front of 600 people who love you, emotion takes over. I wish I could have prepared myself for it. ” – Yahya Maayouf
He explains that he was surprised by the large number of people waiting for him at the restaurant. “When we arrived on the scene, under the emotion, we let ourselves go a little. I wasn’t expecting that, and if I had to do it again, I would do it differently, ”he concedes.
He wishes to take the opportunity to remind young people that despite the events of the weekend, health measures remain important.
“It’s an experience that allowed me to learn for the future,” he says.
At the Mont Tacos restaurant, management also claims to have been taken aback. “We had made arrangements and organized ourselves to respect public health measures, but we did not expect such a great enthusiasm,” explains Rewman Ebbenane, representative of the franchise.