Toronto Chair Girl sparks controversy with pictures from Tahiti vacation
Chair-tossing Instagram user Marcella Zoia is once again sparking controversy by appearing to do something illegal in a social media post.
Multiple posts, actually, in this case — at least seven of them published to the 20-year-old Toronto woman's Instagram Stories feed.
Just one month after narrowly avoiding a jail sentence for the crime of mischief endangering life (which Zoia pleaded guilty to in relation to a now-famous chair-throwing incident last February), the former dental hygiene student shared several videos of herself partying with friends in Toronto on Sunday night.
The posts are standard IG fare: Some food from EFS, a selfie with a friend, a video of Zoia taking a shot, some guy calling her a "baddie" while she gets into a car. Nothing newsworthy.
What's got people talking is the timing of these posts, as well as three others published on Tuesday that show the young woman cruising around in public.
CHAIR GIRL UNDERCOVER as she seems to ignore the Quarantine Act pic.twitter.com/YIBVqX6Lzn— 12:36 🌯 (@1236) August 25, 2020
Her last video uploaded with a location tag from French Polynesia was just over a week ago, on Aug. 17, though it is not clear when the clip was actually filmed.
Under the Quarantine Act, effective until at least Aug. 31, the Canadian government requires all people entering the country, whether by air, sea or land, to "quarantine (self-isolate) themselves for 14 days if they are asymptomatic in order to limit the introduction and spread of COVID-19."
Failure to comply with an order made under the Quarantine Act comes with a maximum fine of up to $750,000 and six months in prison.
Ironically, Crown prosecutors had asked that Zoia be given a four to six-month-long jail sentence (among other things) as punishment for tossing a chair from the 43rd floor balcony of a downtown Toronto condo building over the Gardiner Expressway in February of 2019.
Much to the chagrin of many Toronto residents — including Toronto Mayor John Tory — Zoia instead got off with two years of probation, 150 hours of community service, and a $2,000 fine.
"This is a person who even afterwards it seems didn't learn any lessons," said the Mayor of Zoia in July after the sentence was handed down.
"I think the idea the Crown had to keep her off social media, for I would have said five years, that was a good idea that was not taken up."
With news of the 20-year-old's apparent early (and very public) break from quarantine circulating, some on Twitter are wondering if perhaps Ontario court Justice Mara Greene sent the wrong message with her light sentence.
She learned that any media exposure is a good thing. “I don’t care what the papers say about me, just spell my name right”— CanadianInvestigator (@CDNinvestigator) August 24, 2020
Again, it's hard to say when, exactly, Zoia was on vacation: Highlight reels from the trip include a selection of photos and videos, all of them published exactly one week ago.
Her last Instagram post, prior to the vacation shots, was a selfie taken on Aug. 13 in the bathroom at Baro on King Street West.
Theoretically, Chair Girl could have sat on her vacation footage (no pun intended) and uploaded it all after the fact, for some reason. I don't know. Maybe she's trying to troll the press? Whatever the case, it's important to keep this in mind before pointing your pitchforks at a practical teenager.
If Zoia did in fact leave and then return to Canada any time before Aug. 11, however, she is breaking the law — and this one has more teeth than what she was recently dealing with in court for more than a year.
In addition to the above-stated penalties for failing to comply with the Quarantine Act, the Canadian government says it will further hand down as much as three years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000 to any person "who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening this Act or the regulations."
She may not have killed anyone with the chair stunt, but if Zoia did violate the act and happened to even come close to passing COVID-19 on to someone vulnerable, she could face hard time after all.
Update: Zoia told blogTO Monday evening that the vacation photos were taken during a trip in January and uploaded to her Instagram account long after her return.
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