Toronto

Drake accused of threatening photographer at Toronto's Polson Pier

A Toronto photographer who claims to have witnessed a confrontation involving another shutterbug and Drake on Monday evening says the Toronto rapper should apologize for the "upsetting" incident.

Witness says rapper appeared to back down after he threatened to call police

Matt Small, a Toronto photographer, alleged on his Instagram account that Drake and his bodyguard "threatened" him and were trying to grab his camera after he took photos of the rapper at Polson Pier Monday. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press)

A Toronto photographer who claims to have witnessed a confrontation involving another shutterbug and Drake on Monday evening says the Toronto rapper should apologize for the "upsetting" incident.

Michael Massie says he and three other photographers were shooting photos of the city's skyline at Polson Pier when a helicopter swooped in and landed nearby.

He says he witnessed someone get out of the helicopter, hop a fence, and confront Matt Small, who had separated from the other photographers to get closer to the chopper and shoot photos of Drake.

Photos posted on Small's Facebook page from that evening show Drake standing beside the chopper and staring at the camera. Nearby are two women who appear to be dressed identically.

Small alleged on his Instagram account that Drake and his bodyguard "threatened" him and were trying to grab his camera and memory card.

Massie said at one point Small yelled, "Help! Call the police!"

"As a photographer, I was upset by the situation and how Matt was treated," Massie said in an email to The Canadian Press on Wednesday; he declined a telephone interview request.

"Often I am down at the pier on my own and had I been where Matt was I would have probably done the same with my camera. I worry how it could have turned out without another person there to show up and change the dynamic of the two-on-one interaction. It could have happened to any photographer and it wasn't appropriate.

"I want nothing from this, but I think a polite apology to Matt for an overreaction to the situation would be appropriate."

Small could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday, nor could representatives from Drake's record label.

On his Instagram account, Massie wrote that Drake seemed to back down after he intervened and threatened to call the police.

"They stopped touching his camera and Drake asked me who I was and argued with me that no one could take pictures of him and his friends," Massie wrote.

"I told him my name and that he wasn't allowed to touch him or his camera and he is allowed to be shooting on public property. A short argument continued until they left for their limo, and walking away, I kid you not, Drake looked back and pointed at me and said, 'I'm gonna find you Michael!' (I assume he meant if I post photos of him, though I took none)."

Massie wrote that Small "seemed shaken and left nervous."

"To me the most important part is bringing attention to how photographers are vulnerable out there sometimes to begin with (nighttime, with expensive equipment) and don't need to be worried about something as absurd as a celebrity — who shows up to where you already are — becoming threatening in response to a normal reaction," Massie added by email.

The allegations come as Drake prepares to release his highly anticipated album Views From the 6 sometime this month. The album title is an ode to the 416 area code of Toronto, where he recently received a key to the city and is an ambassador for the Raptors basketball team.

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