A new video that shows Rob Ford launching into a profane tirade surfaced Thursday, adding to the beleaguered Toronto Mayor’s problems.
In the footage, the mayor angrily waves his arms around and makes expletive-laced, threatening remarks.
“I’ll go f–-ing by myself, right in my f–-ing underwear. I want to go… I need 15 minutes,” he said in the clip posted by the Toronto Star, which said it had purchased the video. “F–, when he’s dead, I’ll make sure that motherf–-r’s dead. I need f–-in’ 10 minutes to make sure he’s dead.”
The Toronto Sun, which posted a short portion of the recording, said the video was being shopped around by someone looking to make thousands of dollars. The Star later revealed it had paid $5,000 for the recording, saying its source had “filmed the video from someone else’s computer.” The money, it said, went to “the legal and beneficial use of a family.”
Star editor Michael Cooke told CP24 the Star doesn’t know who recorded the video. “If I knew the kind of person or the rank of the person or what his job was, I would tell you. We don’t know. But the truth is, as the whole world is now watching, the video speaks for itself.”
The video was revealed just two days after Mr. Ford admitted he had smoked crack cocaine in a drunken stupor about a year ago after nearly six months of dodging questions about his drug usage. Mr. Ford is facing mounting calls to step aside and deal with his personal issues.
Soon after the video was posted on the newspapers’ websites Thursday, Mr. Ford emerged from his City Hall office, saying he was “extremely, extremely inebriated.” However, he did not explain the circumstances of the incident, which appears to have taken place in an unidentified living room. It was unclear who else was in the room and when the episode was taped.
“All I can say is again I’ve made mistakes,” he told reporters.
When faced with a barrage of questions about the video, he said: “It’s extremely embarrassing. The whole world’s going to see it. You know what? I don’t have a problem with it. But it is extremely embarrassing, but I don’t know what to say but again I am apologizing. Again, when you’re in that state ... I hope none of you have ever or will ever be in that state.”
When asked for his reaction during a break on Thursday at the Toronto Police Services Board meeting, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair declined to comment on the video, beyond saying it is not part of the police investigation.
He said he became aware of the video on Thursday, “when it was released to the news.”
At one point in the recording, Mr. Ford makes apparent boxing references, saying “in that ring.” At another point, an unidentified voice says “Mike Tyson.” Mr. Ford also says if he wins, he will “donate.”
“No holds barred, brother. He dies or I die, brother. … When he’s down, I’ll rip his f–– throat out. I’ll poke his eyes out.”
Mr. Ford also refers to his brothers, saying: “My brothers are, don’t tell me we’re liars, thieves, birds? It hurts. That little p–-k’s a racist f–-, daddy.”
“Cause I’m going to kill that f–– guy. I’m telling you it’s first-degree murder.”
In an interview with CP24 on Thursday, the mayor's sister, Kathy, and mother, Diane, blamed the pressures of the job, his political opponents and relentless media hounding for his problems.
“The pressure that has been put onto him, since Day 1 since he was elected, it is not fair,” his mother said. “It is not right.”
His sister denied Ford was a drug addict or alcoholic in need of rehab, and insisted he would stay on as mayor. “Robbie is not a drug addict,” Kathy Ford said. “I know because I’m a former addict.”
His sister did concede he tends to binge drink and make a “fool out of himself.”
“When Robbie drinks, I think he just goes full tilt.”
Diane Ford did say the mayor has a problem. “He’s got a huge weight problem,” she said.
Dennis Morris, Mr. Ford’s lawyer who appeared by his side during his scrum, said the mayor was under the influence of alcohol during the episode but hoped to learn more about the context of the video, saying “we don’t have any clear idea” when it was recorded.
“It appears as if it’s some sort of consent fight between two individuals and I think he called the gentleman a racist something or other. I don’t really know,” he said in an interview.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly met briefly with the mayor today. He characterized their meeting as “good” and said he was not disappointed with their discussion.
“I think the mayor is cognizant of the situation,” he said. “He knows what’s going on.”
Mr. Kelly has asked the mayor to take a leave of absence and said he will continue to advise him to do so. While he typically refrains from going into details about his thoughts on the mayor’s personal life, he said many people believe the mayor may be in denial about his personal issues.
“That’s a widely-accepted thesis but I’m not going to comment on that. We have an issue right before us right now and I’m going to try to get to the bottom of it.”
Councillor James Pasternak was the first to speak to media about his reaction to the video. He said the video was “very disturbing and very upsetting” and renewed his call for the mayor to step aside.
“It’s very sad. It’s conduct unbecoming of a chief magistrate and it’s just another disappointment,” he said. “Council has the opportunity to act next week. I’m hoping for a dignified exit before then and that way we can spare any more harm to the city.”
Giorgio Mammoliti, a member of the mayor’s cabinet-like executive committee, issued a statement saying the video is evidence the mayor’s family needs to “intervene and attempt to get him to a drug rehabilitation centre.”
“I fear that if the mayor does not get help now he will succumb to health issues related to addiction,” he said.
Councillor John Filion has put forward a notice of motion for the city’s December council meeting. The motion would strip the mayor’s power to appoint and dismiss his own executive committee if the mayor doesn’t step aside. After seeing the video Thursdsay, Mr. Filion said the mayor isn’t taking the advice of his colleagues.
“I suspect that the mayor is listening to Ford Nation and the people he considers very loyal to him and who he, frankly, does all this for,” he said, urging the mayor’s supporters to consider Mayor Ford’s own well-being when offering him advice.
“Please have some compassion for Rob Ford, who is obviously in a lot of pain. Tell him it’s okay to go and seek some help and come back again another day.”
Mark Pugash, a spokesman for Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, said the chief has seen the latest video and investigators are also aware of it. Mr. Pugash said he was aware on Wednesday that the video was “being shopped around.”
With reports from Steve Ladurantaye, Karen Howlett, Tara Deschamps and The Canadian Press