Anti-Vax NJ Gym Owner Sentenced To Probation For Defying Lockdown, Set To Announce Run For US House

The right wing New Jersey Globe reports:

A South Jersey gym owner who gained national prominence for refusing to follow Gov. Phil Murphy’s business closures and mask mandates during early months of the coronavirus pandemic, will announce next week that will run for Congress.

Ian Smith wants to challenge two-term Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in New Jersey’s 3rd district. He has scheduled an announcement in Burlington County on Thursday.

The long-bearded, heavily tattooed owner of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr became the public face of opposition to Murphy’s mandate to close fitness centers in March 2020. Smith’s gym offered free memberships to people who refused to be vaccinated.

Earlier today Smith and his business partner were both sentenced to one year of probation for repeatedly defying New Jersey’s lockdown orders.

Smith has reportedly paid $1.5 million in fines. Most or all of the fines appear to have been covered by crowdfunding appeals.

As I’ve previously reported, Smith has become a folk hero to Fox News, winning praise from Fox hosts after literally kicking down the boarded up doors to his gym after the state shut him down for defying COVID regulations.

In July 2020, Fox & Friends exultantly reported live from Smith’s gym during a protest at which white supremacists waved the flag of the Three Percenters militia.

In 2007, Smith pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in a drunk driving crash that killed a 19 year-old man. He was sentenced in June 2008 to five years in prison.

NOTE: The New Jersey Globe is owned by David Wildstein, who is 2015 pleaded guilty to two felony counts for his role in then-Gov. Chris Christie’s infamous “Bridgegate” scandal. Wildstein was sentenced to two years probation and is banned for life from working for any government agency.