I've got my teeth in this story now, and I'm not backing down. Yesterday, I diaried about Rob Ford, the right-wing Mayor of Toronto who has been caught on a smartphone video smoking crack in his dealer's den according to Gawker and the Toronto Star where the story broke Thursday. The salacious details can be found at the link above. Suffice it to say that on the video, he makes derogatory statements about the "minority" kids he coaches at a private Catholic school and referred to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau as a "fag".
Well, it just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. More over the Yankee Divider Doodle Dandy...
Ford cancelled several events for this weekend though he DID attend and speak at the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in Toronto--an interesting task for the Mayor who had just called a rival a "fag" and who has refused to attend LGBT Pride events in the past. I viewed this press conference with Toronto PFLAG live on CBC and I must say I have rarely seen a politician look more uncomfortable. He rebuffed reporters' questions afterwards as to whether or not he does, in fact, smoke crack cocaine.
Speaking to reporters in his home driveway before the LGBT event, Ford called the allegations "absolutely not true" and suggested that the Star simply had a vendetta against him, a right-wing meme people in the United States are quite accustomed to hearing. According to the Toronto Star, Ford and his people are laying low:
Except for Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, who cast doubt on the legitimacy of the video, Ford’s messaging apparatus was also silent. His loquacious brother and fiercest defender, Councillor Doug Ford, cancelled a planned television appearance and did not return calls. In a departure from some previous controversies, neither the mayor’s chief of staff nor press secretary issued a written statement.Rob Ford's critics, however, are not so tight-lipped about the implications of this latest in a long line of Ford scandals:
The Fords also cancelled their weekly Sunday radio show on Newstalk 1010.
Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby, an Etobicoke councillor who has known Ford for more than a decade, called the allegations “mind-blowing.”While this situation is, I suppose, somewhat comical, it is just another example of the moral bankruptcy of so many right-wing politicians throughout the world. It's not about smoking crack, really--if the Mayor has a substance abuse problem, I wish him well in treatment as loathsome as his politics and opinions on race and sexual orientation may be--it's about the constant distractions from city business that his behavior creates.
“Come out with it,” she advised him through reporters. “Be honest. Say, ‘Yes it happened,’ or ‘No it didn’t.’ That’s the only way to deal with something like this. Don’t run away from it. Just deal with it.”
Ford, who has long angered the gay community with his refusal to attend the Pride festival, appears to say “Justin Trudeau’s a fag” in the video. Kristyn Wong-Tam, council’s only openly gay member, said he should resign if reports on the video are accurate. So did Helen Kennedy, leader of the advocacy group Egale Canada.
“If the mayor is not educated, and he’s not informed around issues of diversity and social inclusion, then I think he’s not fit to serve,” said Wong-Tam.
Now we wait: resignation or removal? Perhaps the next update will tell. And now, the soundtrack: