Amateur photographers say Drake confronted them on Toronto pier

Daily Journalism

Published on, April 6, 2016.

Several amateur photographers out snapping skyline shots of downtown Toronto ended up with something more dramatic in their lenses when rap superstar and de facto city ambassador Drake emerged from a private helicopter and allegedly got into a paparazzi-style confrontation with them.

Michael Massie said he and three other photographers bearing long landscape lenses were out on Polson Pier on Monday night capturing the sunset when the sleek helicopter swept down to a fenced-off landing pad and disgorged Drake and a few others.

Massie said he had never seen a landing chopper — let alone a global celebrity — during his previous visits to the popular photo spot. “I was not expecting it to be anything like Drake,” he said.

Local shutterbug Matt Small then walked over and started taking pictures of Drake when, Massie said, the “6ix god” and one of his entourage hopped the fence and confronted the photographer, grabbing at his camera and surrounding him despite Small saying he wasn’t paparazzi.

“It kind of looked more like a scuffle at one point – no punches or pushing but you could see the guy was trying to walk back and they were blocking him. And then he screamed ‘help call the police!’”

Massie said he then held his phone up and threatened to call 911 when Drake walked over to him, saying “tell your buddy to delete his pictures and give us the memory card.”

“He just kind of went back, saying ‘you can’t take pictures of us,’” Massie said.

Massie said Drake asked for his name, and Massie then told the rapper he wasn’t allowed to touch Small and that the photographer was within his rights to shoot on public property.

According to Massie, Drake then said “I’m going to find you Michael.” Massie said he took that to mean if he was to post photos of Drake, but says he did not take any.

A limo pulled up soon after and Drake was gone, he added.

Drake’s publicist declined comment. Small, who said on Twitter that Drake “threatened me,” couldn’t be immediately reached for interview Wednesday.

Massie said the whole Drake affair “felt like a big overreaction.”

“It was really weird. It felt surreal. I can understand a celebrity getting mad at someone on their property but it was literally one person standing there,” Massie said.

“I don’t think it was appropriate and he shouldn’t do it again. We were minding our business there and Matt just turned and took a photo,” he added.

“If you want to come into town quietly you can take a cab and wear a hat.”

The 32-year-old family doctor said the bizarre experience hasn’t made him a Drake hater, but that it touched upon every photographer’s fear of being confronted while distracted in the viewfinder.

“I’m not trying to make a big thing for Drake about this,” he said. “I worry about photographers in that situation and that’s why I felt it was wrong.”

While Small managed to get almost album cover-worthy shots of Drake behind the fence, Massie only snapped Drake’s helicopter.

“It’s not my best shot but it’s probably the wildest story,” he said.

Drake is expected to release a Toronto-themed album, “Views From the 6,” this month.

Photo credit: musicisentropy/Flickr CC