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Beer-throwing suspect at Blue Jays game no longer with Postmedia

Baltimore Orioles' Hyun Soo Kim gets under a fly ball as a beer can sails past him during seventh inning American League wild-card game action against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto in an October 4, 2016, file photo.

Mark Blinch/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The man who allegedly threw a beer can toward an outfielder during a Toronto Blue Jays playoff game is out of a job.

"Ken Pagan has left Postmedia," spokeswoman Georgia Sourtzis said in a brief email.

Mr. Pagan, who worked as a sports copy editor at Postmedia in Hamilton, was charged with mischief for allegedly throwing a beer can on the field during the Oct. 4 wild-card game between the Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles. He is to appear in court on Nov. 10.

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Postmedia, which previously said it was conducting an internal investigation, did not answer questions about the circumstances of Mr. Pagan's departure. "We don't discuss employment details," Ms. Sourtzis said.

However, a source with knowledge of the case said Mr. Pagan was terminated. He has hired Toronto employment lawyer Ben Millard, who declined comment.

Howard Levitt, an employment lawyer who is not involved in the case, said companies increasingly don't want to be associated with employees whose behaviour, even off duty, reflects badly on them.

"It was inevitable because no employer is going to retain an employee who's a public embarrassment," said Mr. Levitt, who wrote a textbook on dismissal.

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Mr. Levitt said the only question is whether Mr. Pagan's alleged actions fundamentally violated the basic terms of his employment, giving Postmedia legal cause to discharge him without any severance pay. Otherwise, he could still be fired but he would be entitled to wrongful dismissal damages, he said.

In addition to facing criminal charges and losing his job, Mr. Pagan is "not welcome" at the Rogers Centre, said spokesman Sebastian Gatica.

After the can was thrown in the direction of Orioles player Hyun Soo Kim, teammate Adam Jones said he and Mr. Kim were the targets of racial slurs.

The high-profile incident ignited a firestorm of disgust and dominated discussion on social media.

Mayor John Tory called the perpetrator a "loon ball" and the Toronto Sun, which is owned by Postmedia, announced a $1,000 reward for anyone who could identify him.

Mr. Pagan was identified after Toronto Police released his photograph, a decision that sparked debate and sent amateur Internet sleuths rushing to dissect videos and photos.

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At the time, Mr. Pagan seemed to suggest he wasn't responsible. "I was drinking out of a cup," he told Postmedia. "I'd love to tell you what happened and my story … but I can't say anything."

The incident has familiar undertones. Last year, Shawn Simoes lost his job at Hydro One after he was identified as one of several hecklers caught on camera shouting obscenities at a television reporter at a Toronto FC game. The electricity provider said Mr. Simoes had been terminated for violating its employee code of conduct. However, Hydro One rehired Mr. Simoes after his dismissal went to arbitration.

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