Conspiracy theorists forced to apologize for calling Victorian youth leader a Covid Victoria ‘crisis actor’


Two conspiracy theorists who claimed that a Victorian-era youth leader claimed to contract Covid-19 as part of a deal with Prime Minister Daniel Andrews to instill fear in the face of the pandemic been forced to apologize.

Raphael Fernandez and Fanos Panayides issued a public apology to Ahmed Hassan on Friday after posting several videos in July accusing him of being a “crisis actor” of Covid-19.

Hassan, the executive director of the nonprofit Youth Activating Youth, sent letters to Fernandez and Panayides via his lawyers in August demanding the removal of documents he said defamed him.

The videos included claims that Hassan, who posted photos with several politicians, including Andrews on his social media profiles, was paid to claim he had contracted Covid-19.

Fernandez claimed he planned to file Freedom of Information requests with hospitals to prove Hassan had never been admitted and said the ‘crisis action’ was part of an Andrews campaign brainwashing.

He also claimed that Hassan likely associated with politicians who were pedophiles.

Fernandez claims Facebook warned him that his account would be restricted for posting false information on his page, which he also uses to promote cryptocurrency opportunities and sell shungite, a crystal he says prevents the effects of 5G.

Panayides, who was charged by Victoria Police in September with incitement to planning a protest against Covid-19 restrictions, was followed by Facebook when some of the videos were posted.

Both men apologized unequivocally on Friday afternoon for the videos, which have been viewed tens of thousands of times.

“These representations that were made about Mr. Hassan were not based on any real facts,” the men said in separate videos.

Hassan said he received death threats after the videos were posted. The catalyst for the conspiracy theory was an appearance he made on the Seven Network on July 7 to discuss his infection with Covid-19. He had also appeared on ABC.

Hassan told Guardian Australia it was perverse that media interviews meant to educate the community about Covid-19 were instead used for further conspiracies.

“I’m glad the apology happened, I just want these guys to learn from their mistakes and learn that you can be held accountable for what you say. I forgive them, but they have to make sure they don’t repeat it for someone else.

“A lot of people sent me messages for fear of really believing it.

“I was angry… it was very hurtful, to say the least.


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