The TikTok comedian who developed a cult following for predicting NSW’s daily Covid count has been charged by police for attending an anti-lockdown rally.
Jon-Bernard Kairouz, 24, was among 3,500 who attended an illegal protest in the Sydney CBD on Saturday and was filmed addressing the large crowd on a megaphone.
NSW Police set up Strike Force Seasoned to track down all attendees at the protest, which is now being feared by health officials as a potential coronavirus super-spreader.
More than 200 alleged attendees have been identified so far, including Kairouz.
NSW Police released footage of investigators attending a Belmore home in Sydney’s south-west on Sunday where Kairouz was filmed donning a NSW Blues Origin jersey as he spoke to police.
Kairouz was issued with a court attendance notice for two counts of not comply with notice direction – COVID-19 and encourage the commission of crimes.
He will appear in Bankstown Local Court on September 14.
TikTok comedian Jon-Bernard Kairouz was spotted firing up the anti-lockdown protestors in Sydney’s CBD on Saturday
Kairouz was filmed at Saturday’s protest holding a megaphone and declaring himself ‘the people’s Premier’ as he whipped a crowd of thousands into a frenzy outside Town Hall on Saturday.
‘All we want is freedom,’ he shouted to a roar from the crowd, before sharing clips of the speech to his Instagram.
But the stunt quickly backfired, with followers questioning why he joined thousands of protesters and risked extending the city’s lockdown.
‘This is f***ing ridiculous,’ one person wrote. ‘If your aim is freedom — you’ve f***ed up by bringing thousands of people together. Watch the spike. Congrats!’
‘There are people in ICU how selfish can you be?’ added another.
Jon-Bernard Kairouz was charged with for two counts of not complying with Covid-19 notice direction and encouraging the commission of crimes
Kairouz shot to fame during Sydney’s lockdown after correctly reporting how many cases NSW would announce the following morning five times in a row.
His streak ended last Monday with his prediction of 109 beyond the actual figure of 98.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was a ‘disappointment … someone, somewhere in the system’ felt it was necessary to leak the numbers to Mr Kairouz.
‘I saw someone saying on social media that it was a sting. No it wasn’t,’ Mr Hazzard told reporters on Monday.
‘It was looking at what the issues were and making sure that the system was such that the information could be kept to the appropriate time.’
NSW, which counts cases over a 24-hour period to 8pm, releases figures and the context of each case daily at 11am.
Kairouz has repeatedly insisted his predictions are the result of ‘simple maths’, but has not released a single video since his suspected leak in the NSW Health department was outed.
Gladys Berejiklian was recently questioned at a press conference on whether NSW Health had a leak and if she was concerned.
‘I know at the moment a lot of people alleged to have various bits of information and that’s welcome, we are in democracy,’ she said.
When questioned about his newfound social media stardom, Kairouz said he was just trying to enjoy the process and his new-found notoriety.
‘I’m having a ball,’ he said.
‘I’ve been creating content on Instagram and TikTok for just about a year now and to grow exponentially on the social platforms has been really fun and it’s been a whirlwind.’
Police have received more than 5,500 reports from members of the public as they continue to investigate Saturday’s protest.
Of the 63 people arrested at the protest, 35 were charged with various offences.
Twenty of them appeared in Parramatta Local Court on Sunday, where 15 were granted bail to appear at Downing Centre and Newtown Local Courts at a later date.
Investigators have since issued two more court attendance notice and public infringement notices to another 16 people on Sunday, including Kairouz.
Kairouz accurately predicted the count of NSW Covid figures five days in a row, before his suspected source in NSW Health was exposed