Do Dad’s TikTok Rants Disentitle Him to Decision-Making About Kids?
In an interesting recent case, the Ontario court considered whether a father’s anti-vaccine TikTok videos and Facebook posts should preclude him from being granted decision-making authority over his children pending a full divorce trial with their mother. It also considered the extent to which a father could post about the children on social media.
The parents split up after being married for five years. They had two children, now aged 6 and 10. They agreed to a shared parenting regime after their separation, but then communication and joint decision-making between them broke down. They ended up before the court on a motion.
Some of their differences revolved around the father’s anti-vax and anti-mask positions relating to COVID-19. The mother asked the court for an order forcing him to comply with all public health recommendations prescribed by the Province regarding COVID-19 – but the father ended up agreeing to this on his own, on consent.
This left the mother’s second and more pressing concern: That she be granted interim decision-making authority over the children, pending a full trial. Her main objections arose from the father’s past blatant disregard for public health directives, and his various TikTok videos where he rants about those COVID-19 protocols including (and especially) vaccines. The court described these materials in detail, as follows:
The first video provided was retrieved by the [mother] on November 22, 2021. The video depicts the [father] providing a stream of consciousness that contains the following messages:
- It is his opinion that if you give your child this experimental gene therapy that is still in the experimental stages until 2023 you are a fucking idiot and a piece of shit. It is 100 percent child abuse.
- The Respondent references the on-going family law litigation.
- If anybody gives my child an experimental gene therapy, it is literally a death sentence for them, and he will go fucking berserk. It is absolutely fucking insanity.
- We need to stop the nonsense. You need to stop complying.
- I don’t wear a mask. I don’t have the vaccine. I go wherever I want and do whatever I want.
In addition to the TikTok videos, the [mother] provided messages from the [father’s] Facebook page. The posts are not dated. Spelling and grammar are verbatim as posted. Some of the excerpts are as follows:
- Giving a child from 5-11 a jab. Is 100% child abuse. They literally have a 99.997-99.999% survival rate. They can do nothing but harm them. FACT/SCIENCE. If you are in favour of giving children in this age group the jab please unfriend me because I think you’re the most disgusting vile person on the planet.
- You force the students to take an experimental gene therapy. Or you deny them admittance do university or college! Threaten to destroy or ruin their lives. You treat them like animals (Lab rats an Guinea pigs). Then Shame them for acting like animals. I say shame on you!!! This isn’t there fault. They’re kids tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. Don’t blame them blame the government that’s making record-breaking profits, politicians becoming multi millionaires overnight over a fake pandemic. You want to be mad at something how about a record high gas prices when it’s only $82 a barrel. Last time gas prices were this high it was $150 a barrel. Be mad the the government is trying to divide us. I think they forget that they work for us. FUCK TRUDEAU!!! THAT YOU SHOULD BE AT THE F@&$ING COMMIE POF!
- Here we go! I hope that you are all ready for this chief medical officer Dr. Moore and Doug Ford announced they’re gonna have to postpone the reopening on November 15 for 28 days as precautionary measures. This is an absolute joke. Lie after lie after lie. Time to bend over, winter months are coming and y’all gonna be taking it hard. Wake the F@&K UP! This will never end till we make it end! That POS Trudeau says 85% of the country’s full jabbed but cases going up everyday. Don’t worry though the booster is available for everyone! Like the great Don Cherry once said “You people can’t be this fucking Stupid.”
One particularly troubling TikTok video featured the father filming his unmasked then-5-year-old child in a grocery store, while he referred to them both on audio as “purebloods” (i.e. an anti-vaccine stance).
The court noted that while the parents did arrive at an early post-split agreement about their children’s health care, it had not covered this kind of behaviour by the father, nor the impact it might have on the children’s health. Tellingly, these videos and posts showed he could not be counted on to care for the needs of the younger child especially, whom he had “paraded” through the grocery store while filming. The court ordered that pending trial, the parents should still try to make joint decisions about the children; however if they could not agree, then the mother would have the final say. The court made it clear this included decisions about vaccination.
Next, the court considered whether the father should be allowed to post about the children on social media, and if so, in what circumstances. The court said:
A review of the [father’s] social media posts clearly shows that [he] displays disdain toward the government and governmental policies associated with COVID-19. While the [father] is certainly entitled to his opinions, his opinions cannot lead to actions that detrimentally affect the children. … The [father] has exhibited a true lack of appreciation of how his actions can adversely impact the children.
The [father] posed a direct threat to the [mother] in the TikTok video in which he stated: “If anybody gives my child an experimental gene therapy it is literally a death sentence for them, and he will go fucking berserk. It is absolutely fucking insanity.” While the [mother] advised that she did contact the authorities because of this threat and the [father] did note that he apologized and did overstep, the threat was still made. Again, the consideration for the children’s best interests was cast aside in favour of the [father’s] TikTok upload.
The [father] must cease from posting the children in any manner that they are associated with the COVID-19 pandemic or any other health-related issue. In particular, the children should not be put in any position to convey the [father’s] beliefs. … Again, I reiterate that the posting of the children on social media with any type of connection to the COVID-19 pandemic is not in the children’s best interests.
Finally, the court ended with these words:
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to enter various phases with new variants and ever-changing recommendations at the local, provincial, national, and international level. The Respondent is entitled to his opinion. However, he is not entitled to actions stemming from these opinions that ultimately place the children in harms way. ….
For the full text of the decision, see:
Moore v. Moore, 2022 ONSC 2378