Many Americans awoke this morning to discover that (a) the mayor of Toronto is a guy named Rob Ford, and (b) Rob Ford smokes crack. Gawker reported last night that a cell-phone video clearly showing Ford lighting up a crack pipe — which was supposedly filmed within the last six months, while he was mayor — was being shopped around for six figures. Gawker’s John Cook saw the video in person with his own two eyes, as did two reporters from the Toronto Star. Ford’s lawyer calls the video “false and defamatory” and asks, hilariously, “How can you indicate what the person is actually doing or smoking?”
If you didn’t know anything at all about Rob Ford, the revelation that he smoked crack on video might come as an absolute shock. Marion Barry aside, this is not something that mayors do. But if you were familiar with Ford, you might not even be that surprised. For the uninitiated, here are the twenty most important things to know about Rob Ford.
In 1999, as a 29-year-old who had yet to enter public office, Ford was charged in Florida with DUI and marijuana possession (although the marijuana charge was dropped). When the arrest came to light during Ford’s run for mayor in 2010, Ford lied and claimed he had merely been charged with failing to take a breathalyzer test, not a DUI. Lying about easily disproven things would become a Ford trademark.
In 2002, Ford suggested that instead of having a “public meeting” about locating a homeless shelter in his district, “Why don’t we have a public lynching?”
In February of 2003, Ford went on a tirade at a city council meeting, calling a colleague a “slithering snake” who belongs in the zoo. The city council meeting quickly devolved into absolute chaos, by Canadian standards.
In 2005, Ford referred to fellow city council member Gloria Lindsay Luby as “a joke,” “a waste of time,” and “a waste of skin.”
Sometime during or before 2005, while a city councilor, Ford got into a heated argument with a reporter who called him a “fat fuck.” (The good stuff starts around 1:00.)
In 2006, Ford, then a city councilor, was thrown out of a Maple Leafs hockey game for getting into drunken, expletive-laden arguments with fans (and also calling them “communists”). Asked about the incident by a reporter, Ford claimed he “wasn’t even at the game.” A few weeks later, he admitted that he was, in fact, at the game. “I had one too many beers and I sincerely apologize,” he said.
Later in 2006, Ford protested against spending $1.5 million to combat AIDS because, “If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably, that’s bottom line.” When it was pointed out to him that a growing number of women were being infected with AIDS, Ford replied, “Maybe they are sleeping with bi-sexual men.”
Ford absolutely hates bicyclists. In 2007, he said that if a bicyclist is killed by a car, it was the bicyclist’s own fault for, uh, existing?
In March of 2008, he repeatedly referred to the tireless work ethic of “Orientals”:
“Those Oriental people work like dogs … they sleep beside their machines,” he said. “The Oriental people, they’re slowly taking over … they’re hard, hard workers.”
That same month, Ford was charged with assaulting his wife and making threats against her, but the charges were dropped because of inconsistencies in Ford’s wife’s account of the incident.
In June of 2010, Ford was recorded on a phone call telling a constituent that he would try to score some OxyContin for him.
In October of 2011, Ford was met in his driveway by a member of Canadian comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes who was dressed like Xena. Ford, finding this absolutely terrifying, went inside and called 911, twice. He reportedly told the dispatcher, “Don’t you fucking know? I’m Rob fucking Ford, the mayor of this city.” Ford later apologized “for expressing my frustration inappropriately.”
On Christmas Day of 2011, Ford’s mother-in-law “called police between 4 and 5 a.m. to report that the mayor had been drinking and was taking his children to Florida against the wishes of his wife, Renata.” The Toronto Star reported, “According to numerous police and emergency service sources, 911 calls to the mayor’s Edenbridge Dr. home are a reality for the South Etobicoke division. Exactly how many calls have been made is unknown.”
Last August, someone posted a photo to Twitter of Ford reading while driving his car on the highway. Not sitting in traffic on the highway, mind you, but “moving at about 70 km.” Asked whether the allegation was true, Ford replied, “Probably. I’m busy.” As mayor, Ford has refused his right to chauffeur.
Last November, Ford attempted to throw a football. Instead, he fell down. Here is a GIF of this moment.
In February of this year, Ford was asked to leave a gala for members of the military after he was witnessed “speaking in a rambling, incoherent manner that alarmed some of the guests.” The Toronto Star reported that it’s “an open secret at city hall that the mayor has battled alcohol abuse.”
This March, Ford was accused by political rival Sarah Thomson of grabbing her ass during a photo and telling her she “should have been in Florida with him last week because his wife wasn’t there.”
On St. Patrick’s Day, Ford was escorted out of the bar Bier Markt after “storming the dance floor” and exhibiting generally drunken and “incoherrent” behavior.
In April, Ford let off a loud f-bomb after walking face-first into a television camera:
Oh, and in 2012, a judge actually booted Ford from office for violating conflict-of-interest laws. But Ford successfully appealed the decision and was allowed to remain mayor. Which is maybe something he regrets, in hindsight.
He smoked crack.
This post has been updated with additional things to know.