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Ford on bullying awareness: ‘Being called fat, it bothers you’

FILE PHOTO: Mayor Rob Ford is seen during a press conference to launch Workforce Development Week at a Scarborough, Ont. employment office, Monday October 22, 2012.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Mayor Rob Ford – who earlier this year waged a very public and unsuccessful effort to shed some pounds – said his size has long made him the brunt of jokes.

"When you are overweight like I've been all my life you get made fun of and it's not good growing up," Mr. Ford said Monday at an event to publicize Bullying Awareness Week. "There are many different types of bullying, but being called fat, all that stuff, it bothers you, but you have to deal with it."

Last January, the mayor and his brother Doug committed to a public weight-loss campaign. While the mayor ended the challenge with a sprained ankle in June, 17 pounds lighter at 313, he fell short of his 50-pound weight-loss goal.

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Launched amid great fanfare, the Ford brothers' "Cut the Waist Challenge" was supposed to be a feel-good publicity campaign reminiscent of reality TV's most popular weight-loss bouts. However, in the end, the mayor struggled with the weekly weigh-ins and postponed some of them, which became fodder for his critics.

Also at Monday's anti-bullying news conference, Mr. Ford, who has never attended Pride Week events, was asked if his participation would have sent a message to people who bully gay and lesbian teens.

"Bullying comes in many forms. If gay people are being bullied, I think that's terrible," Mr. Ford said.

Mr. Ford had this advice to young people who are being bullied: "Report it," he said. "You have to stand up to bullies. And if you keep it inside it could, you know, I think, mentally harm you. Make sure people know and point out the bullies."

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Toronto City Hall bureau chief



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