Rob Ford is no stranger to controversy. The recent scandal involving a video of him under the influence of crack cocaine is just the latest in the saga of Ford’s public run-ins with the law that stretch back into his time as a city councillor.
As far back as 2006, there are documented cases of Ford behaving poorly in public. On April 15 of that year, the now-mayor was ejected from a Toronto Maple Leafs game for obnoxious behaviour.
When asked by an attendee to “be quiet,” Ford began to shout profanity-laced insults at him.
“Are you a fucking teacher?” Ford reportedly asked the fan, later adding, “do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?”
Ford was identified through a business card he left behind. He initially denied attending the game, but later admitted to the media that this was a lie.
Two years later, charges were filed against Ford for assaulting and threatening to kill his wife Renata. The charges were ultimately dropped due to discrepancies in statements she made following the incident.
Ford encountered his next round of public difficulties when he was seen by Ottilie Mason and her six-year-old daughter talking on his phone while driving. The pair gave the mayor a “thumbs-down” for distracted driving, and rolled down the window to shout, “get off your cell phone!”
According to Mason, the mayor gave them the middle finger, swore at them from behind the glass of his own windows, and then drove off in a vehicle with licence plate “ROBFORD.” Ford responded to the account, admitting that while he had been on his phone, he did not make any rude gestures.
“This [accusation] is a misunderstanding,” said Ford on Twitter.
One year later, a photograph was taken of Ford once again distracted while behind the wheel, this time reading while driving at a reported 70 kilometres per hour. Ford responded that it “probably” was him.
“Yeah, probably, yeah. I’m [trying] to catch up on my work and you know I keep my eyes on the road, but I’m a busy man,” Ford said to a reporter following the incident.
March of 2012 saw Ford’s next incident involving public inebriation, he appeared drunk at city hall on St. Patrick’s Day after a night of partying. According to a security memo, Ford “had problems walking, was sweating profusely, and was swearing at [senior aide Earl] Provost as he walked by the security desk.”
The evening ended with Ford shoving his assistant Brooks Barnett, who was trying to stop him from making phone calls, and Ford being escorted home in a cab.
In late February of 2013, Ford fell under scrutiny after being kicked out of the Toronto Garrison Ball, an event that honours military members and raises money for wounded soldiers, for his alleged level of intoxication.
Just two weeks later, he was accused of acting inappropriately towards political rival Sarah Thomson at a gala. According to Thomson, he groped her and made sexually suggestive remarks about her coming to Florida with him.
That July, Ford was also caught on camera urinating, and disposing of empty alcohol containers behind a public school in broad daylight.
May of this year saw the beginning of the scandal centred on a video of Ford allegedly smoking crack cocaine – allegations further supported by Toronto police Chief Bill Blair on Oct. 31. Ford confirmed earlier this month that he had in fact smoked crack in the past.
Finally, Nov. 7 saw the release of a video in which Ford graphically describes a desire to murder someone. It is unclear whom he is referring to, but a gesticulating Ford is seen explaining how he will “rip his fucking throat out” and “poke his eyes out.”
Since the video’s release, Ford has apologized publicly, but has stuck to his assertion that he will not step down from his position. As of Nov. 9 he maintained a 44 per cent approval rating.