Misleading: A woman based in New York lost custody of her child because she refused to wear a mask in public.

By: Varun Kumar
December 20 2021

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Misleading: A woman based in New York lost custody of her child because she refused to wear a mask in public.


The Verdict Misleading

There are no documents or reliable resources on the alleged case, which has been featured on several fake news sites.

Claim ID d345fe7f

It has been reported that a woman has lost custody of her six-year-old daughter because the mother refused to wear a mask. However, the story has not been featured on any reliable news sites, and there are no court documents available. According to GatewayPundit, a media outlet that has published several fake news stories and conspiracy theories, Dr. Micheline Epstein was denied custody of her six-year-old daughter by a New York City judge because she refused to wear a mask. The article states that Epstein had dropped her daughter off at school and was outside of the building when she was approached by the school nurse and security staff, who asked her to wear a mask, but she refused. She said that her daughter was already inside the building and wearing a mask. After the incident, Epstein had reportedly received a letter from the school stating that she would no longer be permitted to escort her daughter to or from school. The letter had apparently also been sent to Epstein's estranged husband. Epstein has a shared custody agreement with her ex-husband. As a result of the incident, the court had apparently ruled that the mother was not permitted to remove her daughter from the school and told her that she could not make decisions over her education or other life circumstances. A fundraiser on GiveSendGo, a Christian crowdfunding website, to help cover the legal expenses has been launched. As of March 24, $28,903 has been raised. PayPal cut ties with the website as it was revealed that far-right groups had used the website to raise funds. There is no professional profile for Dr. Michelle Epstein online, who is described as a family physician. Logically checked court records online and could not find details related to the story. Cases related to minors or family law may not be available for public view. A New York Times feature from April 2020 has outlined the experiences of frontline workers locked in custody battles due to fears of the child contracting COVID-19. There are no details of the case in question, however. As the story has been featured on several fake news sites without proper accreditation or sources, we have marked the story as misleading. We will update the story if more details become clear. The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.

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