British Columbia

COVID-19 denier and conspiracy theorist Mak Parhar dead at 48

Parhar, who gained prominence in the anti-mask movement and Flat Earth conspiracy community, died in his New Westminster home Thursday.

Parhar's court dates for violating COVID-19 public health orders were postponed because he was too sick

Mak Parhar died in his home Thursday night of unknown causes. The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating. (YouTube)

Prominent COVID-19 denier Mak Parhar, who gained a profile in both the Flat Earth conspiracy community and anti-mask movement, died at his home in New Westminster, B.C., on Thursday.

The 48-year-old's cause of death is not known. A spokesperson for the B.C. Coroners Service said a coroner's investigation, which could take months, will be conducted. 

Parhar has been in the news the past two years for spreading COVID-19 falsehoods, operating his yoga studio in contravention of public health orders and being arrested and charged for disobeying quarantine laws.

In a rambling video from Nov. 3, Parhar said he had recently taken ivermectin, a drug that is falsely touted by anti-vaxxers as an off-label treatment for COVID-19, even though he didn't believe COVID-19 was real.

"... That horse parasite remover? So I did take that and I feel like 40 to 50 per cent better. But I am a little bit down right now," he said in the video. 

Ivermectin is most commonly used as a livestock dewormer and has been proven effective in treating parasites, not viruses. Health authorities in the U.S. and Canada have issued warnings about taking it for COVID-19.

An earlier video Parhar shot in late October shows him coughing and complaining about being sick, but denying he has what he calls "CONVID."

"I'm jacked up on extra strength Advil and Tylenol for the last two days, that's the only way I can function. If I'm not on Advil or Tylenol, I'm lying in bed," he said. 

Parhar's notoriety as a conspiracy theorist grew when he repeatedly violated Canada's Quarantine Act after returning to B.C. from a U.S. Flat Earth conference in the fall of 2020 — something he bragged about to a crowd rallying in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. 

He was arrested in November 2020 and was scheduled to appear in court last week, but the dates were postponed. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada said Parhar informed the Crown he was too sick to start the trial.

In April 2021, Parhar's lawsuit accusing the B.C. government of kidnapping and terrorism for arresting him was thrown out of court for being "patently absurd and nonsensical."

The City of Delta suspended the business licence of Parhar's yoga studio in March 2020 after he made false claims that hot yoga kills coronavirus, while encouraging students to show up for class despite public health orders at the time restricting gatherings.

with files from Bethany Lindsay

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