A London hockey legend who’s become known for controversial social-media rants is railing against COVID vaccine mandates, and told one woman who disagreed he hopes “they force you into the sex trade.”
Brandon Prust, a Memorial Cup champion with the London Knights who enjoyed a 10-year NHL career, published several messages on Twitter that appeared to mock those pushing for mandatory vaccination efforts.
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“I’m going to be on the road tomorrow driving. If I see anyone else on the road I will lose it,” wrote Prust, who has settled back in London, his hometown, after retiring. “Also everyone take their vitamins tomorrow because mine won’t work if you don’t take urs (yours).”
A woman replied sarcastically – “Thanks in advance for driving safe” – and Prust appeared to compare vaccine mandates to forced prostitution in his reply.
“So that means they can force me to do anything they want? I hope they force you into the sex trade,” he wrote before adding a sexual insult. “I paid more taxes for these roads than you could ever dream of money in your account.”
The comment drew a torrent of criticism. One man called it “disgusting and completely disrespectful” while another called it “a childish, horrific response.”
After The Free Press published a story on the tweet, Prust wrote on social media that his comment “was blown out of context,” adding: “As usual people are just blowing s–t out of context. Anyway have a good day everyone lol (laugh out loud).”
Prust then returned to social media a few minutes later – more than 12 hours after the initial sex-trade tweet – noting he “would like to apologize to the lady I replied to” on Twitter.
“I apologize for my bad choice of words,” he wrote. “I don’t hope the government forces anyone into the sex trade!”
It’s not the first Prust rant to draw scorn on social media during the pandemic.
In May – the same day The Free Press detailed the virus-related death of a local teen, and the community recorded its 207th death of the pandemic – Prust appeared to ridicule the restrictions in place across Ontario and nationwide.
“Cancer kills about 80k Canadians a year but yet you can buy as many cigarettes as you want. Diabetes kills about 40k Canadians a year but (you) can drink as much pop and eat as many cheeseburgers as you want,” Prust tweeted. “Covid kills 25k Canadians in a year and a half. Don’t you dare leave your house.”
Prust won the Memorial Cup with the 2005 London Knights before going on to a solid NHL career that included stops in Vancouver, Montreal and with the New York Rangers.
He now lives back in London, where he is involved in charity efforts. Last year the Brandon Prust Foundation donated $25,000 to the Children’s Health Foundation, eventually raising more than $50,000 after challenging Londoners to match his donation to help families with sick kids at the hospital.
Prust played nearly 500 NHL games, compiling 115 points and more than 1,000 penalty minutes.