'Homophobic Cowboy' Rails Against Pride Crosswalk in Viral Video

A 71-year-old man was arrested in Saskatoon, Canada, after an incident involving the painting of a Pride crosswalk in the city's Broadway neighborhood on June 9.

According to a Saskatoon Police news release, officers were dispatched to a call of a disturbance at 9 p.m. The man, who was captured on video, was reported for "aggressively shouting at a group of individuals" and "attempting to remove road barricades."

Volunteers for local LGBTQ+ non-profit organization OUTSaskatoon, had been painting rainbow and trans Pride crosswalks, to celebrate Pride month and in preparation for Saskatoon's Pride festival. The paints had been donated by Sherwin Williams Paints, and the City of Saskatoon had granted them permission to paint the road.

Witness Logan Roberts told CBC that other locals had been honking car horns in support of them and even offering donuts while they worked. However, the man, who was later dubbed a "homophobic cowboy" online, allegedly began shouting racist slurs at some of the painters.

Roberts claimed to CBC that the man parked his car and walked back over to the crosswalk.

"Then he started grabbing the barricades that had been set up just for the safety while we were painting, and he started throwing them and yelling and saying how we were just stupid and destroying the country," he said.

Essa Bear, a volunteer who also went viral with a video of the incident, told Newsweek: "I kind of kept my distance because he started taking down and kicking the 'road closed' signs right where I was sitting, and just managed to let him sprawl of out of control because I know that paint can literally offend someone."

The man was subsequently arrested and released on an appearance notice. He is expected to appear in court in November.

In a statement shared to Twitter, Saskatoon Pride and OUTSaskatoon said: "Last night there was an incident involving an individual who attempted to disrupt our #Pridewalk painting on Broadway & 10th. Their actions were fuelled by homophobic & racist comments which attempted to incite violence; the matter is now being handled legally.

"What happened last night in #yxe & the recent aggravated assault on a queer man in Toronto are reminders of the harassment & violence our #2SLGBTQ communities continue to face. Pride began as a protest to fight back against the violence & discrimination we face as a community and while Pride has evolved to also include celebration, there still remains plenty of basic rights & freedoms that we must fight for."

Various videos of the incident have been shared online, with one clip posted on Reddit gaining over 20,000 votes in nine hours. The post dubbed the man a "homophobic cowboy," thanks to his headwear choices and behavior.

Bear shared her own footage to TikTok. In the video, the man can be seen walking towards another volunteer while knocking over barricades.

"I was invited to go paint some sidewalks down in my city, on Broadway, everything was donated, everything was free, people asked us to go and do this. This old man happened to drive by, and say a bunch of hateful sh*t. He drove by first before he came and did that," she said in a follow-up video.

Bear told Newsweek: "I hope the one thing I want people to take from this video is that I'm a Plains Cree First Nation, I'm a proud transgender two-spirited women and that we are still here it's taken us hundreds of years to roam freely and to talk about who we are with out any doubt anyone is gonna hurt us."

"I wasn't surprised because I know their are people that are going to react this way towards our community. Men aren't the only ones that have views like this and yes, it is typical for something like this to happen but I'm not gonna speak for Saskatoon as a whole because there is a big community here," she added.

Update 09/14/2021 2:44 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include comments from Essa Bear.

LGBTQ+ crosswalk
LGBT pride painted crosswalk. A man in Canada was arrested for a disturbance over the painting of a crosswalk. Getty Images. Getty Images