TAMPA — The brawling Easter bunny whose rabbit punches went viral appeared in Hillsborough circuit court on Thursday to face unrelated charges from Christmas time.
Antoine McDonald, 20, failed to return a car he rented Dec. 26 from Sixt rental company at Tampa International Airport, according to court documents. He also is charged with possessing a fake driver's license.
McDonald walked up to a local news team after the hearing and talked about his newfound fame. He said the Easter bunny video went viral because he's a black man.
"Soon as I was forced to take off that mask," McDonald told WFLA-TV, "you guys realized I was an African American, you said, 'Oh no, this guy can't be coming on,' so we're going to find a way to shut that down ASAP."
McDonald was arrested on the Hillsborough charges Feb. 13 in Orange County and pleaded not guilty last month. His next court date is set for June 6.
It was in Orange County that he gained fame this week when he was caught on video in a fuzzy white bunny suit fighting with a man on a dark sidewalk. The fight was quickly broken up by Orlando police and no arrests were made.
In interviews with reporters, McDonald said he was out with friends taking turns in the bunny suit when he saw a man fighting with a woman. He said he went to her aid.
But once the video and McDonald's name went viral, his past run-ins with the law surfaced.
McDonald is wanted in New Jersey in connection with a vehicle burglary last fall. He also was a "person of interest" in a carjacking and two armed robberies in Pasco County, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
Pasco jail records list a Zephyrhills address for McDonald. He told police in New Jersey he lived in Tampa and reported that he recently moved to Orlando.
Staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report.