Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is not known to be a fan of the gays. Yet beneath a flapping rainbow flag — raised to mark the International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia and Transphobia at Toronto City Hall –he looked at peace on Friday. He was safe, at least for a while, from the media and the question of the day: “Mayor Ford, do you smoke crack?”
I was twice in the Ford scrums on Friday. At one point, he emerged from an elevator, red faced and mumbling something to the effect of “it’s ridiculous.” He appeared again after the gay-rights flag ceremony where I’m not sure he said anything at all.
The only indication we have so far that Rob Ford is a crack user, is this and this. There’s also this photo of the mayor standing visibly blitzed (in my opinion) between two men, one of whom appears to be the late Anthony Smith, a 21-year-old Torontonian who was killed in a gangland shooting.
If the video surfaces on the Internet, which I suspect it will, and the allegations are confirmed —remember the golden-eagle-snatching-a-baby video? — he may not only lose his job, he’ll have lost his last redeeming quality. Irrespective of his boorishness, Ford has survived on his image as a folksy inner-city high school football coach full of tough love and high hopes for the downtrodden.
The narrative was the only thing his detractors could stand — it’s what made him most loveable to his boosters.
If the allegations are confirmed, a man who claimed to be a hero in a drug-ridden neighbourhood will turn out to be the villain. He’ll go from being a flawed human being— bad mayor, but an okay guy — to much darker and despicable.
Until it plays out, Ford will persevere — indifferent to everyone and everything, especially his past. Remember his short-lived Cut the Waist, weight-loss challenge? That famous scale is still on display, unused and in full view — a public relic of his personal failure.
On Friday at city hall, an anti-homophobia flag-raising seemed like the highlight of Rob Ford’s day — that alone speaks volumes.