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Ex-NHLer apologizes, exits social media after ‘sex trade’ tirade


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A contrite Brandon Prust is temporarily exiting social media, saying he’s “embarrassed and deeply sorry” for a tweet in which he told a woman she should be “forced into the sex trade” as part of his argument against mandatory COVID-19 vaccines.

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The former longtime NHLer, who won a Memorial Cup with his hometown London Knights, said Friday he’s reached out to social media experts for access to media literacy and sensitivity training after ranting against COVID vaccine mandates and making the stunning remark to a woman who disagreed.

“This is a big learning moment for me,” said Prust, who has returned to London after his 10-year NHL career. “I am committed to continuing this work as long as it takes and to turning a wrong into a right. I will also be making donations to groups who do work in these important areas.”

Prust, 37, said he does not condone or encourage violence against women. He said he plans to work to better understand public health measures and offered a personal apology to Elizabeth MacAulay, the subject of his sex-trade remark.

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“Thank you to everyone who has played a role in opening my eyes to the journey I need to embark on to be a better community member,” Prust wrote in Friday’s statement.

MacAulay, who said she blocked Prust on Twitter after reading his “crude tweet,” thanked those who reached out with words of kindness to her.

“I’m going to make a donation to the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking,” she wrote on her Twitter account. “This is not a matter to joke about. I’m sorry to sex trafficking victims who had a joke and a crude comparison made about a horrific issue and reality of too many people in the world today.”

Prust was mocking mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations when she replied sarcastically. He wrote back: “So that means they can force me to do anything they want? I hope they force you into the sex trade,” he wrote before adding a sexual insult and boasting about his wealth.

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He initially said critics had “blown (his comment) out of context” before apologizing, and then issuing Friday’s statement.

Prust has seemed to revel in riling up people on social media with controversial commentary, including throughout the pandemic.

In May – the same day The Free Press detailed the virus-related death of a local teen, and the community recorded its 207th death of the pandemic – Prust appeared to ridicule the restrictions in place across Ontario and nationwide.

“Cancer kills about 80k Canadians a year but yet you can buy as many cigarettes as you want. Diabetes kills about 40k Canadians a year but (you) can drink as much pop and eat as many cheeseburgers as you want,” Prust tweeted. “Covid kills 25k Canadians in a year and a half. Don’t you dare leave your house.”

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“Cancer and diabetes aren’t contagious,” one person replied.

Prust won the Memorial Cup with the 2005 London Knights before going on to a solid NHL career that included stops in Vancouver, Montreal and with the New York Rangers. He earned about $10 million.

He now lives back in London, where he is involved in charity efforts. Last year the Brandon Prust Foundation donated $25,000 to the Children’s Health Foundation, eventually raising more than $50,000 after challenging Londoners to match his donation to help families with sick kids at the hospital.

Prust played nearly 500 NHL games, compiling 115 points and more than 1,000 penalty minutes.

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