A Canadian politician has been accused of pushing a hoax after claiming that he was punched in the face during the Education Over Indoctrination rally against gender ideology in Ottawa on Friday.
Ontario MPP Joel Harden alleged that he had been struck by a protestor, causing a small scratch on his cheek, however, Twitter users quickly utilized the platform's Community Notes feature to dispel those claims, and show that it was actually his own megaphone that caused the injury.
During the protest, a rainbow blazer-wearing Harden took to Twitter to share a photo of his scratch, which he claimed was inflicted upon him by a member of the "far-right mob" voicing their frustration over LGBTQ indoctrination in schools.
"I’ll take a punch for queer and trans youth any day," he added.
Harden, who represents Ottawa Centre in the provincial legislature, received support from citizens and government officials alike; even federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said he was "proud" of him.
Video soon emerged of Harden holding a megaphone close to his face less than half an hour before posting the aforementioned image. In the footage, the megaphone can be seen bouncing off his cheek in the exact place the scratch later showed up.
Following the release of the footage, Harden's supporters changed their stories, ditching the story that he had been punched in the face in favor of one in which the megaphone had actually been "smashed" into his face by a protestor.
On Sunday, Harden himself gave an updated version of events, claiming that his injuries had come as the result of a fight between two women.
"After separating them, I looked over my shoulder and was punched," he alleged. "I was holding a megaphone against my face. The blow glanced off the megaphone and my face was cut. The woman left and the altercation ended."
A woman even came forward claiming to be part of the fight.
Harden was slammed across Twitter for pushing the hoax, which was picked up and covered by numerous outlets. Many disgruntled Canadians screenshots of the exact moment in the video the megaphone can be seen making contact with his face.
In November 2022, Hayden apologized for making antisemitic comments in a previous August 2021 interview, saying "I spoke in a way that perpetrated an antisemitic stereotype towards Jewish neighbours."
"I regret my choice of words," he added.
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