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Rob Ford denies giving mom the finger

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks to the Canadian Club of Toronto on Thursday March 3, 2011, in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn.

Mayor Rob Ford is denying that he gave a woman and her child the finger when they told him to stop talking on his cellphone while he was driving.

Ford’s press secretary Adrienne Batra told CityNews in an exchange of text messages that the mayor was on the cellphone while driving Friday evening but that he didn’t flip the bird at the two.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ford said on his Twitter feed, “A story published that while I was on the phone I made a rude gesture to a fellow driver is not accurate. This is a misunderstanding.”

Ottilie Mason wrote in a Facebook posting Saturday that Ford gave her and her six-year-old daughter the finger when they told him to get off his cellphone while he was driving in Chinatown on Friday evening.

Mason said she was driving on Dundas Street around 9 p.m. when she and her daughter came across the mayor talking on his cellphone in his minivan.

She said that she and her child play a game of thumbs up or thumbs down when they like or dislike something, so they gave Ford the thumbs down and told him “get off your cellphone” when they both stopped at the Dundas and Spadina intersection.

Mason, who said her nanny was also a witness, said Ford gave them the finger.

She said she rolled down the window and again shouted “get off your cellphone” and Ford kept giving them the finger and mouthed the swear words through his window.

“He’s the mayor. He’s in the public eye. He has to set an example. He has to follow the law as best as he can,” Mason told CityNews. “If he slips up say, ‘I’m sorry.’ That would have been fine.”

If Ford had been caught by police for not using a hands-free set, he could have been fined $155.

Mason said she doesn’t have anything against Ford and is not in politics. She said she only posted the ugly encounter for friends to witness.

But her posting, which has been shared on Facebook and Twitter, has received both angry and skeptical responses.