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'Buck-naked men' behind mayor's decision to avoid Pride: Doug Ford

Doug Ford defended his brother’s decision to not attend this year’s Pride Parade, saying he did not want to see “buck-naked men.”

Mayor Rob Ford said Wednesday he would not be attending the parade. Unlike in years past, when he has said he would be at the family cottage for the Canada Day long weekend, Ford told a University of Toronto crowd, “I’m not going to change the way I am.”

The mayor was not at city hall on Thursday and his office said he was taking a sick day. Doug Ford spoke to reporters.

“He’s not homophobic,” Ford said, adding the mayor has “friends that are gay.”

“I brought my kids down there and I wouldn’t bring my kids back when there’s buck-naked men running down the street,” Ford said.

Doug Ford added that “some folks” in the gay community would also not be going because they didn’t like the idea of “middle-aged men with pot bellies running down the street buck-naked.”

Last year was the first time since Rob Ford was elected mayor in 2010 that he took part in a city hall flag-raising ceremony to launch Pride Week. Doug Ford said that the mayor’s statements about the parade were not newsworthy.

“I don’t think there’s anything new here,” Ford said.

“He hasn’t marched ever before … I believe he’ll be raising the flag [at city hall] and maybe go to an event.”

With the Olympic Games in Sochi facing criticism over Russia’s crackdown on so-called gay propaganda, Coun. Shelley Carroll compared Rob Ford to Putin.

“That doesn’t surprise me. Carroll should look in the mirror herself.”