Andreas Eskander, Jerome Feujio, a boxer with Team Canada; Vanessa Sicotte, a student to become a pilot; and Julian Jalbert work in construction. They don’t know each other, but on Dec. 30 they all met at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport in Montreal, Canada, joining a group of just over 130 others for the trip of a lifetime.
The group — a mix of regular folks and a who’s who of influencers and Quebecois reality stars, including several recent contestants from the popular French dating show Occupation Double — were all members of 111 Private Club, an invitation-only social club. They boarded a chartered Sunwing Airlines flight to Tulum, Mexico, where they planned to celebrate the New Year and party until their return on January 5.
“I was really excited,” says Eskander, 23. “Who wouldn’t be? Taking a private plane with your friends, going off to the beach.”
“I was DJing on the plane, creating a vibe,”ATL Jacob was a producer and was present on the trip. “I played house music, and of course Super Gremlin, me & Kodak Black’s song. We number one in the world right now.”He stated that he enjoyed the set and it was enjoyed by everyone, even the flight attendants. “They was vibing and dancing while they serving out drinks and food.”
In Mexico, the 111 Private Club members — led by its founder, James William Awad — explored the Yucatan and the Mayan Riviera, went swimming in aCaveI took a boat from Isla Mujeres to attend the Zamna Festival. “It was open bars and VIP,”Jalbert, 27, “It was a really fun time.”
“I’ve been to these types of events and they’re always so unorganized,” says Eskander. “I can honestly say this was the most organized. Everything was smooth.”
The chaos came to an abrupt halt when @od_scoop posted a video of the passengers having fun on the plane. This is a Quebecois Insta account dedicated to gossip. Occupation Double “It’s a reality show where people travel to win the love of their life,”Jalbert explained. “OD Scoop exposed the people [on the plane] from that show first, and then shit blew up.”
The video shows people dancing and maskless in the aisle, all mugging for the camera. Sicotte vapes for long periods, while Sicotte smokes a puff. While the country was undergoing lockdown, the mile-high party plane was seen aggressively violating the rules.
It was met with swift backlash. On Jan. 5 it was the lead story across most Canadian news outlets, with four articles in The Globe & Mail alone. By that evening it had made its way into Jimmy Fallon’s monologue. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minster, called them “a gang de sans desseins”This roughly means: “idiots”) and called their actions a “slap in the face” to everyone who’s following public health restrictions.
“All of this is based off something that started on an Instagram meme,” says Feujio, 24. “It’s just for drama.”
Naturally, those on the plane felt singled out – they had gone through all the pre-screening required, including showing proof of vaccination (as is required on all flights out of Canada). “All of this is based off something that started on an Instagram meme,” says Feujio, 24. “It’s just for drama. ”According to several people on the trip, the flight attendants didn’t ask them to change their behavior during the plane ride. “Although we did hit some turbulence and they advised us to regain our seats and fasten seatbelts — which I have to admit some people didn’t do straight away,”Sicotte, 27, “There wasn’t any friction,” says Frank Balaguer III, Awad’s manager. “They were selling us alcohol. It was as if it was just a regular private jet.”Sunwing has not yet responded to a request to comment on the crew and passenger interaction during the flight.
On Jan. 5, Sunwing announced that they were canceling the group’s return flight. Sunwing released a statement stating that they had made this decision. “based on the group’s refusal to accept all terms and our security team’s assessment that non-compliance would be likely based on their previous disruptive onboard behaviour.”
“James didn’t refuse their demands,”Balaguer. “They cancelled it on their own accord.”
It is a difficult time in Canada.All over the world,Omicron has been reducing freedoms in a number of areas, including the return to curfews or modified lockdowns throughout the country. People were upset at what appeared to have been a gang full of entitled influencers. Sensational headlinesThe sizzle continued and the pile on started. Air Canada and Air Transat both announced that they would not allow passengers to book return flights. Transport Canada, the country’s governmental authority over airlines, began an investigations, and said that passengers could be fined up to $5,000 per offense.
Online accounts were created to help people with their financial needs.Tracking influencers and exposing their identities. No one was more scrutinized than the group’s 28-year-old leader, James Awad, the man behind 111 Private Club. He founded the club in July last year, hosting parties throughout Montreal. This was the first trip to international.
Some of the criticism was focused on his past. He was fined in 2015 for acting as a broker in investment without a license. “purportedly approached people through his Facebook page, identified himself in the name of KJRVS Inc., and claimed have a unique investment system,” according to Canada’sFinancial Markets Authority. (He says that this was a mistake he made in 22 years old, and that he was only required to pay $2,000 Canadian. He changed his name in 2019 from Kevin to James William Awad. “James told me he changed his name to be like James Bond,”Balaguer. “His life is crazy.”
That same year, he started rapping under the name Senior. Balaguer and Awad first met at the end of last summer. Rolling LoudBalaguer met Balaguer in Miami and, after hearing his music, offered to take Balaguer to Mr. Jones, a local club. Balaguer said that within one week they had started talking to Rick Ross. “James told me that when he was younger, he built a video game that made his first million. He told that story to Rick Ross during a live performance at Vendôme. He killed it. The whole club thought he killed it. That gave us the foot in the door to meet up with Rick Ross and have him hop on a feature for Senior.”You can see clips of Ross and his entourage in the video for Senior song. “Scenes”YouTube, a clip that is shiny and expensively made with over half a billion views. (A representative for Ross confirmed that he did appear on one of Senior’s songs.)
Though he’s still coming up as a rapper, Awad seems to have already amassed a small fortune. Balaguer talks up his friend, noting he lives in a mansion on a hill, looking down over The homes he’s purchased for his friends and family. (He’s purchased 11 properties in the past four years, according to an investigation by the Journal de Montreal, totaling over $17 million.) Balaguer provided the following: Rolling Stone two videos from his last visit to Awad’s estate north of Montreal, showing a large turreted stone mansion under construction. You can see the 111 logo on a limousine. “I am building a castle,”Awad tells Rolling Stone. “I want it to be similar to the Edward Scissorshands movie.” He mentions that his car collection includes a white Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, a Brabus 4×4 squared, and a Rolls Royce Phantom.
ATL Jacob was in Montreal visiting Awad before the flight from Mexico. “His castle crazy man, he got a cave under there with a tunnel,”Jacob. “I told him he remind me of Batman cuz he gotta put in codes to get into the tunnel. Down the driveway he got four or five houses, he turned one into a studio.”
Awad appears to have plenty of money, most of the people who joined him for the flight to Tulum aren’t able to say the same. Many of their lives have been turned on their heads. While Awad is offering to reimburse all of his guests for expenses incurred by this debacle, there are some things he can’t fix.
Eskander claims he was targeted by Instagram messages to his 10-year-old brother. “People saying how they’re gonna teach him to do things with his mouth,”He said.
“Some girls were crying,”Balaguer, who received death threats, said: “Every single message they’re getting is hate.”
Vanessa Sicotte (aspiring pilot) was seen in the video exhaling a puff of vape smoke. She has since been referred to as the “face” of the incident. Since then, she has been Denounced by the pilot groupMontreal Press: Her future as a pilot could be in peril “I have received at least a thousand (messages), from insults on my character, my family, to death threats,”She tells Rolling StoneSend an email to Cancun “People being happy I’m losing my career and everything I’ve worked for. I’ve received hate from all over the world, in languages I do not speak. The hate is just uncontrollable.”
Two more passengers Their jobs were lostUpon their return. Feujio is anxious about his standing in Team Canada. “Boxing is my life. It’s my job. It’s my everything.”
Awad says that twenty-five of his guests are still in Mexico under quarantine. Sicotte, Feujio and others are back in Montreal.Eskander is currently in Arizona with his friends. Julian Jalbert flew back from Arizona on Saturday night, claiming he was fully vaccinated. He said that he and others in the group were held at the airport for three hour before being allowed to return home. Their passports weren’t suspended. “Transport Canada told us that those in the videos might be more in trouble than us,”He said. “I’m waiting for a phone call with them to talk more about what really happened on the plane. They were really gentle.”
Jalbert planned to return to his job as a construction worker on January 11. “The police were just at my door to confirm I’m doing quarantine,”He says. He was ordered to stay at home until he gets clear results from the latest PCR test. He’s trying to stay upbeat. He’s not an influencer, a multi-millionaire aspiring rapper, or a reality TV star. He pours concrete and lays foundations in any weather except the coldest. He must get back to work.