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A recap of Rob Ford’s weekend in Hollywood, from the airport, to the Sunset Strip, to the studio

If Hollywood were to get its hands on Rob Ford‘s story, would the resulting movie be an inspirational one? Would it be the tale of a mayor who was once ashamed to admit he’d smoked crack, but who overcame his fear in time to embrace his new life of international infamy?

That’s the angle the mayor seems to be working, at any rate, and never has that been more apparent than right now, as he prepares to make his much-publicized appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight. Even though the show tapes today, Ford has actually been in Hollywood since Saturday evening, along with a retinue consisting of both of his brothers (Doug and Randy) and at least two staff members. His every step has been dogged by reporters and gawking Angelenos. The former have been wondering just who’s paying for this lavish trip to the left coast (Kimmel? And if so, could this be considered a campaign contribution?), while the latter have mostly been seeking photos with Toronto’s most famous citizen, other than maybe—maybe!—Drake.

The mayor has said that he sees his trip as a way of enhancing Toronto’s reputation, but so far the effect has seemingly been the opposite. Here’s a chronological rundown of the whole transcontinental adventure so far.

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Reaction Roundup: the nine top responses to Rob Ford’s refusal to attend Toronto’s World Pride event

Rob-Ford“I’m not going to go to the Pride parade. I’ve never gone to a Pride parade. So I’m not going to change the way I am.”
Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto


Daniel-Dale“Wow.”
Daniel Dale, Toronto Star reporter covering the mayoral debate


Doug-Ford“[Rob Ford] is not homophobic…You know what’s ironic? I spoke to some folks in the gay community, and they said they weren’t going because they didn’t like the idea of men running—you know, middle-aged men, with pot bellies, running down the street buck naked. And they didn’t feel comfortable that they could bring their kids there. Do I condone men running down the middle of Yonge St. buck naked? Absolutely not. Maybe there are some people in this city that approve of that, and maybe they can bring their kids down to watch this.”
—Councillor Doug Ford, brother and campaign manager to the mayor


KWT“Should the morality police descend on the mayor’s office or the mayor’s home, they may have something to say about public drunken stupors and behaviour, crack cocaine use, the allegations of domestic assault, marijuana and hash dealing, improper use of city resources, drunken outrage, public urination, cultural appropriation of a Jamaican accent. I would imagine that it’s best not to judge.”
—Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, whose ward includes the Church-Wellesley Village


Pride“We thank Mayor Ford for his RSVP, and look forward to hosting another successful event in his absence.”
Pride Toronto, organizers of the annual Pride parade


Shelley-Carroll“This isn’t going to be a local embarrassment, this is going to be an international problem.That we have a mayor that is vocal and resolute, I’m not going to change, I don’t attend events that celebrate the LGBT community… It’s very similar to the embarrassment that Putin is causing his nation and the international hatred towards him.”
—Councillor Shelley Carroll


Norm-Kelly“I think the leadership of this council is going to be in complete support of this event and we should do everything we can to make sure Toronto and all of its communities, the gay community in particular, shows themselves off to the world in the best possible light.”
—Deputy mayor Norm Kelly, who will be officially invited to Pride


Kevin-Beaulieu“Frankly [hearing Ford’s refusal] was a bit of a surprise because we haven’t invited him yet. There is a very recent history of homophobic comments on video, and we would have to think about that very carefully before any specific invitation was issued.”
Kevin Beaulieu, executive director of Pride Toronto


Levy“I agree that @TOMayorFord should be at the Pride parade … but what about @kevinbeaulieu and Pride’s cowardly refusal to deal with QuAIA [Queers Against Israeli Apartheid]?”
Sue-Anne Levy, Toronto Sun columnist


(Images: Rob and Doug Ford, Kelly: Christopher Drost; Levy, Dale, Beaulieu: Twitter; Carroll, Wong-Tam: toronto.ca)

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Daniel Dale drops his defamation lawsuit against Rob Ford

(Images: Dale: Courtesy Toronto Star; Ford: Christopher Drost)

(Images: Dale: Courtesy Toronto Star; Ford: Christopher Drost)

After rejecting Rob Ford‘s initial attempt at an apology, Star reporter Daniel Dale says he’ll drop his defamation lawsuit against the mayor following the release of a written follow-up apology on Wednesday night. Dale’s notice of libel called for an apology to be given “publicly, abjectly, unreservedly and completely,” and the two-page statement, endorsed but clearly not written by Ford, definitely meets those criteria.

Referring to Ford’s insinuation, during a televised interview with Conrad Black, that he had caught Dale lurking in his backyard, taking pervy pictures of his kids, the apology says:

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Watch Rob Ford dance just moments after apologizing to reporter over pedophile claims

Just moments after uttering a soon-to-be-rejected apology for suggesting that the Toronto Star‘s Daniel Dale was a pedophile intent on taking photos of his children, Rob Ford cut a rug. A reggae band was in the city hall council chamber playing Bob Marley‘s “One Love” and “Christmas Carol Blues,” and councillors were urged by the band leader, Jay Douglas, to get up and dance. “Don’t sit, you need this,” he told our elected officials.

The moment brought some levity to an otherwise joyless city council meeting, but it also ushered Ford, Toronto and Canada back to punchline status on American television. “One minute they’re yelling at each other and the next they’re dancing all around the room,” joked Jimmy Kimmel last night. “For a while, I thought it was just mayor Ford, but what I’ve realized is Canadians are much, much weirder than any of us had any idea they were…Are they all on crack?”

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Daniel Dale rejects Rob Ford’s apology, will proceed with his defamation suit

(Images: Dale: Courtesy Toronto Star; Ford: Christopher Drost)

(Images: Dale: Courtesy Toronto Star; Ford: Christopher Drost)

Earlier today, we wondered if Rob Ford’s surprise apology to Star reporter Daniel Dale would be enough to head off the defamation lawsuit that Dale began pursuing late last week. Now, we have our answer. In a series of tweets posted this afternoon, Dale says Fords remarks weren’t enough to fully make amends for the mayor’s suggestion, during an interview with Conrad Black, that Dale is a pedophile. The lawsuit will proceed.

In his apology, delivered during a city council meeting this morning, Ford tried to offer a rationale for what he said about Dale on Black’s TV show. It was a somewhat convoluted explanation, and it laid a portion of the blame on Ford’s neighbour, who (at least according to Ford) set off a now-legendary chain of events in May 2012 by alerting the mayor to Dale’s presence on a piece of public land adjacent to the Ford family backyard. Dale was investigating a story about the mayor’s attempt to buy a portion of that same public land.

Ford said his neighbour told him that a person was “peering over his fence,” taking pictures—which Dale was cleared of doing after a subsequent police investigation. “At that moment,” Ford said this morning as part of his apology, “I honestly believed my neighbour’s account of the events. I had no idea, at the time, who the person was my neighbour told me was leering over my fence.” He added that although he seemed to accuse Dale of spying on his children during the Black interview, it wasn’t his intention to suggest that the reporter was a pedophile.

Here’s what Dale had to say about that:

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UPDATED: Rob Ford’s day of apologies continues—with an “I’m sorry” to the Star’s Daniel Dale

(Images: Dale: Courtesy Toronto Star; Ford: Christopher Drost)

(Images: Dale: Courtesy Toronto Star; Ford: Christopher Drost)

Not long after not-quite apologizing for Monday’s comparatively minor slip of the tongue, Rob Ford apologized for something much more serious: seemingly implying, during an interview with Conrad Black that aired last week, that Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale is a pedophile.

At today’s city council meeting, the mayor stood on a point of privilege and read a prepared apology to Dale, who served Ford with a notice of libel last week after the pedophile comment aired on Vision TV.

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The feud between Conrad Black and Rosie DiManno is bad for newspaper readers, great for the dictionary industry

(Images: Black: George Pimentel; DiManno: Toronto Star)

(Images: Black: George Pimentel; DiManno: Toronto Star)

Conrad Black and Rosie DiManno have spent the past few days attacking each other in their respective newspaper columns, and it’s incredible. This is the media equivalent of Godzilla versus Mothra, except instead of body blows, both sides are hurling awkwardly written sentences.

Black and DiManno, more than any other journalists working in Toronto today, are known for over-elaborate prose. Black, in particular, likes using words that seem like they were pulled from a 19th-century thesaurus. DiManno, while not quite as prone to weird word choices, does have the distinction of having written what has been called the worst lede of all time. The pair’s latest feud—over Black’s softball interview with Rob Ford, during which Ford allegedly libelled Star reporter Daniel Dale—has brought out the worst in both of them. Here’s a sample of the invective, taken from Black’s December 14 Post column and DiManno’s response in today’s Star.

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Indiegogo campaign tries to crowdfund legal fees for Rob Ford

(Image: Indiegogo.com/Screenshot)

(Image: Indiegogo.com/Screenshot)

Does a guy whose family members can afford to hand out $20 bills to crowds need charity from the internet? The creator of this Indiegogo campaign—entitled “Stop the Bullying! Help Pay Mayor Ford’s Legal Costs”—definitely thinks so.

Iain McLaren, the person behind the crowdfunding campaign, said in an email that he has no affiliation with Rob Ford, and is acting completely on his own. “The personal wealth of the Mayor has no bearing on principle,” McLaren wrote. “Do we want to live in a society where people are deterred from running for office in fear of constant harassment? How many people have been put off running for office because of the unprecedented bullying they have seen the Mayor face?”

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QUOTED: ZoomerMedia on being sued by Daniel Dale

 

“As there is now the threat of legal action, ZoomerMedia will not be making a statement until such time as we can consult with our attorneys to consider the allegations and determine next steps.”

ZoomerMedia, on its decision to stay silent after being served with a notice of libel by Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale. Zoomer is the parent company of Vision TV, the cable station that aired the Conrad Black interview with Rob Ford that started all of this. (A clip of the offending segment, in which Ford seems to insinuate that Dale is a pedophile, is embedded above.) A video of the interview was removed from Vision TV’s website the day after Monday’s broadcast, and the station has been refusing to talk to reporters all week. Black, meanwhile, has been trying unsuccessfully to defend his own role in the unfolding debacle. He isn’t named in Dale’s lawsuit, but Ford is.

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It’s official: Star reporter Daniel Dale is going to sue Rob Ford over “pedophile” suggestion [UPDATED]

It seems as though Rob Ford has earned himself another defamation lawsuit. (He’s 1-0 on these things, so far.) Daniel Dale—the Toronto Star reporter whose sexual proclivities Ford called into question during an interview with Conrad Black that aired on Monday—will apparently be taking the unusual step of suing the man whose mayoralty it’s his job to cover. Star editor Michael Cooke tweeted the news, but also told the Globe that his newspaper’s lawyers were at city hall on Thursday evening to serve the mayor with a notice of libel.

Now that Ford has been served, Dale has six weeks to file a more formal statement of claim, although the mayor and Vision TV have three days to respond to the libel notice, which is calling for a full retraction and apology from Ford and the station. “Part of the rationale is that if the mayor wished to apologize or retract the statements that gives him an opportunity,” said Dale’s lawyer, Iris Fischer of the firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. The Toronto Star is paying Dale’s legal bills. “I’m not saying that would indicate what my client’s next step might be. I don’t know that at this point.”

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QUOTED: Star reporter Daniel Dale on whether he’ll sue Rob Ford

(Images: Dale: Courtesy Toronto Star; Ford: Christopher Drost)

(Images: Dale: Courtesy Toronto Star; Ford: Christopher Drost)

“If I do take legal action, the Star’s got nothing to do with it. In fact, if I were a businessman or teacher or anything other than a Toronto Star reporter, I would have served Ford with a libel notice already.”

-Toronto Star city hall reporter Daniel Dale, on whether he’ll sue Mayor Rob Ford. The conflict stems from an interview between the mayor and Conrad Black, which aired Monday night on Vision TV. In response to a softball question about media excesses, Ford said: “Well, I guess the worst one was Daniel Dale in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. When a guy’s taking pictures of little kids, I don’t want to say that word, but you start thinking, ‘What’s this guy all about?’” Dale, along with many other people, has interpreted the comment as an allegation of pedophilia. Ford made the comment despite a police investigation that found that, on the day in question, Dale was actually in a park adjacent to the Ford’s property, researching a story about the mayor’s attempt to buy a parcel of public land.

Dale isn’t the only one at One Yonge Street issuing stern soundbites. Here’s Torstar chair John Honderich, speaking with the CBC: “It is a complete outrage. That’s all I can say. There seems to be no gutter deep enough to which this mayor will not stoop. He has made a very serious allegation against our reporter, who was doing his job.”

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A tragicomic scrapbook of Rob Ford’s crazy, blunder-filled mayoralty

Rob Ford Brief History

(Photo: John Cullen)

We expected a bumpy ride with Ford as mayor, but we weren’t prepared for a self-sabotaging Lindsay Lohan of politics. With a new scandal every week, it’s easy to lose track. Hence, we present a scrapbook of two very long years in Fordlandia.

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How Toronto Star editor Michael Cooke brought the stodgy newspaper back to life

Michael Cooke, the Toronto Star’s tabloid-minded editor, is on a mission to expose the corruption and crookedness of the city’s secretive establishment. Every week brings a new target: the premier’s office, Marineland, the College of Physicians, and always Ford, Ford, Ford

Michael Cooke: The Paper Warrior

It was early December of 2011, and Kevin Donovan was hellbent on publishing an exposé of Ornge, Ontario’s $150-million-a-year air ambulance service. Donovan, who runs the Toronto Star’s investigative team, had already spent two years sniffing around the company. Though he didn’t yet have the facts to back up his hunch, he was convinced something was amiss. He decided to take a chance and write a story about precisely what he didn’t know: how much Chris Mazza, the doctor who created and ran the publicly funded agency, and his vice-presidents were being paid. It was a Sunday, typically a slow news day, so Donovan figured the piece was a shoo-in for a front-page ­placement the next day.

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TRCA kills Rob Ford’s dream of buying up parkland by his house to build a big fence

(Image: Christopher Drost)

As expected, the executive committee of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority has decided to follow its staff’s recommendation and has rejected Rob Ford’s bid to buy the bit of parkland next to his Etobicoke bungalow (a.k.a. the catalyst for his showdown with the Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale). Both precedent and policy suggested it would have been pretty unusual for the TRCA to approve the sale of parkland, but the mayor’s representative at the meeting, family friend and real estate agent Ross Vaughan, apparently still thinks it was “unfair.”

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Etobicoke has fallen out of love with Rob Ford since his reporter-chasing hijinks

(Image: The City of Toronto)

Funnily enough (or sadly enough, from the perspective of civic engagement), the ridiculous Daniel Dale incident seems to have affected Rob Ford’s approval rating more than any of his decisive political defeats from earlier this spring. Poll results released today show that 40 per cent of Toronto residents approve of the job Ford is doing, down seven percentage points since last month and 20 percentage points since his early days as mayor. And in his home turf of Etobicoke, Ford’s approval rating plummeted 15 percentage points to 33 per cent. Lorne Bozinoff, the president of Forum Research, who conducted the survey, suggested Torontonians are not impressed with Ford’s attempt to buy the parkland abutting his house and the brouhaha that followed. Bozinoff also said west-enders might be feeling snubbed since Ford has ignored his former ward, focusing his attention across town to bring subways subways subways to Scarborough. Still, we thought Etobicoke residents wouldn’t turn away from Ford until hell froze over, pigs flew and the sky started to fall—oh, right. [National Post]

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