Toronto Mayor Apologizes for Lewd Remark, Will Get TV Show with Brother
TORONTO, Ontario (CNN)-
The salacious allegations against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford took a lewd turn Thursday when the embattled leader made a vulgar reference on camera about oral sex and, then, moments later, apologized publicly.
In his apology, Ford said he had been under “tremendous, tremendous stress.”
Ford was apparently referring to graphic language he used in denying a female staffer’s accusation that he sought to perform oral sex.
In another development about the controversial mayor, he and his brother Doug, who’s also a member of the Toronto City Council, will begin broadcasting their own TV show on Canada’s Sun News Network on Monday, the brother confirmed to CNN.
Their “Ford Nation” show will air Monday nights and picks up where the two brothers left off on their talk radio show, which ended its run last week, the network said on its website. A headline on that site posed the question, “Canada’s Ultimate Reality Show?”
The website quoted Councilor Doug Ford saying about the mayor, “Rob is like Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh” and “You just never know what he is going to say.”
The network continued: “The mayor and his brother, will have the opportunity to express their views on events past and future. News networks like CNN regularly broadcast his latest utterings.
“Mayor Ford seems to be in a no-holds-barred mode. There is no filter. There is no careful treading.”
Critics of Sun News Network have described its conservatism as “Fox News North,” according to a story about its launch in 2011 by the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Councilor Ford came to his brother’s defense Wednesday on the floor of the city council. But the council voted Wednesday to ask Mayor Ford to take a leave of absence, following his admission last week that he had smoked crack cocaine. Mayor Ford also recently confessed to having purchased illegal drugs in the past two years, while he was in office.
But Mayor Ford has steadfastly refused to step down.
Also Thursday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said she was disturbed by recent events involving the Toronto mayor, and while it’s not the province’s role to impose its preferences on a city’s government, the province would respond and provide new tools to the Toronto City Council if it indicated it needs help to carry out its duties, Wynne said.
If so, she would consult other parties to see what could be done so that partisan politics wouldn’t be involved, she said.
Meanwhile, in addressing the ongoing controversy Thursday, Mayor Ford acknowledged that he had drunk alcohol in excess, but said he was receiving support from a team of health care professionals.
“I am taking accountability and receiving advice from people with expertise,” he said. “I do not want to comment on the particulars of this support.”
Earlier in the day, Ford responded to the latest accusations by saying he is taking legal action against former staffers who claimed the mayor brought a woman appearing to be an escort to his office and drank alcohol while driving.
The new allegations surfaced Wednesday in more than 500 pages of court documents that were used by Canadian police to get a search warrant for Alexander Lisi, Ford’s friend and occasional driver, whom police accuse of marijuana possession and trafficking.
While outside his office Thursday, Ford responded to accusations of drinking and driving by telling reporters, “I’m sure none of you have never gotten behind the wheel after taking a drink.”
He said the allegations in the documents are “outright lies” and “not true.”
The documents include police interviews with former staff members, information obtained from surveillance crews and cameras, and even an examination of the mayor’s garbage.
Several staffers said they were asked to buy alcohol for the mayor of Canada’s largest city. One incident described by a former staffer alleged that Ford, while driving, stopped the vehicle, guzzled some vodka, and drove on.
Ford’s former press secretary George Christopoulos also said women often came to the mayor’s office, “and told staffers that they have smoked a joint with the mayor on the street outside of the bar. These women were told by the mayor that they could have a job.” Christopoulos would then have to interview these women and try to talk them out of a job.
None of the allegations against Ford has been substantiated by investigators, and Ford faces no criminal charges.
On Thursday, Ford also said the so-called “escort” wasn’t a prostitute but a family friend. He added that such allegations “hurt my wife.”
“It makes me sick,” he added. “I’ve had enough.”
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