Mayor Rob Ford said he stands by his comments about Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale – even as Mr. Dale called those allegations "categorically false" and said he's considering legal action against the mayor.
"I stand by my words," Mr. Ford told reporters Tuesday afternoon. "I stand by every word I said with Mr. Black in my interview."
During the Monday night interview with Conrad Black that aired on Vision TV, Mr. Ford described a May, 2012, incident where he confronted Mr. Dale in a public space behind the mayor's house.
"He's taking photos of little kids," Mr. Ford told Mr. Black in the interview. "I don't want to say that word, but you start thinking 'What's this guy all about?'"
But Mr. Dale denied the mayor's account of events, and said he's weighing an offer from Star editor Michael Cooke to support him with legal costs if he decides to sue Mr. Ford for libel.
"I was there to research a story about a mayor making a rare request to buy public land," he said Thursday. "His kids were nowhere in sight. I saw no children. More importantly, after I offered to let police go through the phone, they saw no pictures whatsoever from that night."
Mr. Dale said he met with Mr. Cooke and the Star's lawyer Tuesday to mull possible legal action, but, "I honestly haven't come to a decision yet.
Mr. Cooke, for his part, described Mr. Ford's comments as "vicious libel." He said Mayor Ford "called Daniel Dale pretty much the worst thing you can call a man. It's an extraordinary thing. And then he doubled down on it."
City councillors also voiced their concern with Mr. Ford's comments Tuesday.
"It fits into a pattern that changes the focus from himself to someone else," Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said Tuesday. "In this instance it goes beyond the pale and I think there should be an apology for that."
Councillor James Pasternak said he was "appalled," adding the comments "should be retracted with a formal apology."