Mayor Rob Ford denies making offensive comments towards a 911 dispatcher when he called earlier this week to report a television crew outside his home.
“This morning, the [CBC] published a report alleging that I made foul and derogatory comments towards the female 911 staff,” Ford said in a statement released Thursday. “That allegation is absolutely false.”
Ford had phoned the emergency line on Monday after comedian Mary Walsh of the CBC TV comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes ambushed him in his driveway with cameras rolling.
A CBC source alleged the mayor had called 911 again when the police didn’t arrive after his first call and verbally abused the dispatcher.
The source claimed Ford said to one of the dispatchers: “You … bitches. Don’t you f—ing know? I’m Rob f—ing Ford, the mayor of this city!”
While he denies swearing at the dispatcher, Ford did admit to using the F-word during the conversation. He said he called police because he has received death threats before and the crew frightened his young daughter.
“When I made the 911 call, I was concerned and upset,” Ford said.
“I was repeatedly told police were arriving soon. In another call, I expressed frustration with the delay and said that I had to leave to go to city hall. I did use the F-word at some point as I expressed my frustration with the situation.
“After being attacked in my driveway, I hope I can be excused for saying the F-word. I never called anyone any names. I apologize for expressing my frustration inappropriately.”
Ford said he was not asking the CBC for an apology, saying “it’s up to them.”
CBC issued a statement, saying: “there were multiple sources who gave us information about the 911 call. We have re-confirmed with our sources and they stand behind what they have told us.”
Ford also said he had not had a chance to talk to police about releasing the 911 tapes, which could confirm his version of events, and police said they would not do so without a formal request from Ford.
Neither Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash nor Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack could be reached immediately for comment, though the CBC says the dispatchers involved have complained to the union.
This wasn’t the first time Ford has allegedly lost his cool.
Last July, a Toronto woman said the mayor gave her the finger and mouthed swear words at her when she signalled to him to get off his cellphone while he was driving in Chinatown.
Ford’s press secretary Adrienne Batra admitted Ford was talking on his phone at the time, but denied he used profanities.
Statement from Mayor Rob Ford:
On Monday morning, I was ambushed in the driveway of my home by two people who rushed up to me screaming and waving at me, while I was trying to leave my home and get my daughter off to school. They prevented me from getting into my van and closing the door. Concerned for my safety and that of my family, I called 9-1-1 for help and retreated into my home. The two individuals fled to their black SUV and left before police arrived.
I later learned that the two individuals were part of a television comedy program. I remain concerned that their behaviour was traumatic for my daughter and in no way acceptable professional behaviour. They trespassed on my property and refused to leave when asked. They physically prevented me from leaving my property.
This morning, the same television network responsible for the comedy program published a report alleging that I made foul and derogatory comments towards the female 9-1-1 staff. That allegation is absolutely false.
When I made the 9-1-1 call, I was concerned and upset. I was repeatedly told police were arriving soon. In another call, I expressed frustration with the delay and said that I had to leave to go to City Hall. I did use the “f-word” at some point as I expressed my frustration with the situation. After being attacked in my driveway, I hope I can be excused for saying the f-word. I never called anyone any names. I apologize for expressing my frustration inappropriately.
With files from The Canadian Press