Canadian social media accounts aimed at spreading anti-mask misinformation and conspiracy theories to kids through Disney princesses have gone dark following a media report Tuesday.
In an email to HuffPost Canada, Ottawa-based cosplayer Mary-Jean Harris, the operator of the “Freedom Princess” Facebook and Instagram pages confirmed that the accounts will be taking a break for the “foreseeable future.”
The move follows a Vice World News report on their links to both the anti-mask movement and Harris’s other business venture, Fairytale Princess Parties.
The Freedom Princess pages featured photos and videos of Harris encouraging kids to disobey public health guidelines, while dressed up as popular Disney princess characters such as Snow White and Elsa from “Frozen.”
“This is a place for children to interact with their favourite characters and learn about the government’s restrictions of our freedoms that threaten the prosperity of our lives in a fun way,” a welcome post on the Instagram page read.
Before going offline, both pages included repeated references to many scientifically disproven pieces of anti-masker rhetoric, such as the suggestion that masks actually spread the coronavirus.
“Wear a crown, not a mask!” reads one post, while another includes an “anti-lockdown colouring page” featuring a chain and cage that children are encouraged to “break free from.”
For the record, there is an overwhelming amount of peer-reviewed scientific evidence pointing towards the effectiveness of mask-wearing as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Conspiracy theories that masks are harmful have been repeatedly debunkedagain and again.
Harris also owns and operates Fairytale Princess Parties, an event service where she dresses up as various Disney characters for children’s birthdays and other events. As of Tuesday, Harris’s personal social media accounts featuring her Fairytale Princess Parties work remain active. In a TikTok video posted Tuesday morning, she’s seen in the same Elsa costume featured in the anti-masker Freedom Princess posts.
WATCH: The science behind double-masking. Story continues below.
In an email to HuffPost, Harris insisted that the two endeavours are not connected, despite use of the same costumes.
“Freedom Princess is not connected to Fairytale Princess Parties and is a resource for parents to share with children and is not related to a party company,” Harris wrote.
Following the release of the Vice report, Harris responded to HuffPost Canada’s inquiry for an interview with enthusiasm and said she was willing to set up a time to talk for a story.
Six minutes later, however, she abruptly sent another email saying the page will be taking a break.
“Freedom Princess is going to be taking a break for the foreseeable future,” the second email read. “So I would suggest waiting to write an article if and when we start more projects again.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, both the Instagram and Facebook accounts associated with Freedom Princess have been deleted.
Disney did not respond to HuffPost Canada’s request for comment regarding Harris’s use of its characters.