A Toronto Raptors fan who made a vulgar comment on live television about Ayesha Curry, wife of NBA star Stephen Curry, has been ordered to stay away from both her and the reporter to whom he made the comment.
Prosecutors on Friday dropped a mischief charge against Tristan Warkentin, who has instead agreed to a common-law bond that orders him not to associate with Curry or CP24 reporter Kelly Linehan.
Warkentin also received counselling related to sexual harassment, court heard.
His lawyer, Richard Addelman, said outside court that his client “said some things and now he’s apologized for those things.”
Warkentin, standing beside his lawyer, declined to comment.
Linehan was interviewing Raptors fans after the team lost Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on June 2. She asked Warkentin about the vibe in Jurassic Park, where thousands of fans gathered to watch Raptors playoff games on big screens outside Scotiabank Arena.
That’s when Warkentin made the lewd remark that was directed at Ayesha Curry, whose husband plays for Golden State, while staring directly into the camera. The camera operator pulled away quickly and the audio went silent, but not before Warkentin used profane language on live television.
Stephen Curry – whose wife is an actress, celebrity cook, author and television personality who grew up in Markham, Ont. – later called insults against his family “stupid.”
Toronto police launched an investigation asking for the public’s help to identify the man. A few days later, police charged Warkentin with mischief by interfering with the lawful operation of property.
There have been a string of incidents involving the same profane taunt across the country, usually directed at female reporters and often at sporting events.
A similar incident outside a TFC soccer game in Toronto on CityNews in 2015 led to the firing of a Hydro One employee, although he was later rehired by the utility.
In one bad week in November 2017 for CHCH reporter Britt Dixon, she was harassed three separate times by men yelling the obscenity. In one case, Dixon was interviewing a Hamilton police officer who then arrested the man and charged him with causing a disturbance.
In Halifax in December 2017, CTV reporter Heather Butts was broadcasting live from a pub during a hockey game when Nash John Gracie made a crude gesture and uttered the same sexually explicit comment. He was charged with one count of public mischief and one count of causing a disturbance. Gracie later pleaded down to community service as part of a restorative justice process.