Stop taking pictures with Rob Ford

April 21, 2014


It’s not just about being a fat stupid drunk.

We all know Rob Ford is ridiculous. At his best, he mixes simplistic catch phrases with incoherent bluster until he turns red in the face. One might think he was drunk or high most of the time, until he shows up in public demonstrating what a drunk Rob Ford really looks like. There was also that time he got so drunk he accidentally smoked crack.

And so we have the Crack Mayor, the godsend to late-night talk show hosts, who says and does things that politicians simply don’t do. He appears on Jimmy Kimmel, and people crowd around him to take his picture wherever he goes. Some people even take pictures of their kids with Rob Ford. Some of those people are probably true supporters, while others are doing it out of irony or celebrity spotting. Either way, they should stop.

If he were merely a buffoon, if he were only a stupid rich man pretending to be mayor, then it might be okay. But there’s so much more to Rob Ford than the crack mayor who has plenty to eat at home. 

Given his fondness for alcohol and cars, it’s not surprising that Ford has mixed the two: He was arrested for drunk driving in Florida in 1999, and recently confirmed that, yes, sometimes he has “had some drinks and driven which is absolutely wrong.” (You may have missed the latter, as it happened the same day that he said “pussy” on live television.) It’s nice that Ford acknowledges that it’s wrong; let’s go a step further and look at how many people are killed or injured by drunk drivers.

Rob Ford’s relationship with Sandro Lisi has been under close scrutiny, with particular attention paid to drugs and gangs. But Lisi also has a long history of threatening and assaulting women. In 2011, he threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend. When he was convicted, in 2013, Rob Ford  wrote a glowing reference letter for his sentencing hearing. A Ford staffer also alleged that Ford left his children in Lisi’s care.In 2008, Rob Ford was charged with threatening and assaulting his wife. The charges were withdrawn.

In 2011, police were called to Ford’s home for a domestic disturbance. In 2012, Ford’s wife arrived at her parents’ home, intoxicated and with “bruises and cuts to her limbs”. Police were also called to the Ford home in August of 2013 for a domestic disturbance. It is fair to say that Rob Ford has never been convicted of domestic assault; it is also fair to ask why the police have visited his home so many times.

There are many unanswered questions about Rob Ford, the people he knows, and the activities he may be involved in. We may never know whether he was involved in a prison beating, or in Lisi’s attempts to recover the crack video. But we know he drinks a lot, and we know he hangs out with some awful people. We know he has a temper, and we know he will lie about anything until he’s confronted with incontrovertible evidence that he’s lying. (Sometimes, he keeps lying even after that.) You can make educated guesses about what he’s done, but he’s never given any reason to expect anything but the worst from him.

Do you really want to pose with all of that?