Toronto Mayor Rob Ford apologized to Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale during a Dec. 17 City Council meeting.
Ford said in part:
“I want to take this opportunity to clarify my comments made in an interview with Conrad Black and to apologize to Daniel Dale for the way in which the media has interpreted my statements. I never called Mr. Dale a pedophile. I have never used that word to describe Mr. Dale. I do not believe Mr. Dale is a pedophile, nor did I intend to suggest that in my comments.”
Ford added that he has “no issue with Mr. Dale personally” and put his complaints on the Toronto Star. “I do take issue with his bosses at the Toronto Star to put him and I into this situation.”
Last week, as iMediaEthics wrote, Dale filed a libel notice against Ford and VisionTV parent company Zoomer Media. VisionTV aired an interview of Ford by Conrad Black in which Ford suggested Dale was a pedophile.
Ford said in the interview, “The worst one was Daniel Dale in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. When a guy’s taking pictures of little kids, I don’t want to say the word, but you start thinking, you know, what’s this guy all about?”
Dale’s libel notice called for Ford to “immediately retract the false insinuation that I am a pedophile and all of his false statements about my conduct on May 2, 2012.” He also called for Ford and Zoomer Media to make public apologies.
iMediaEthics has reached out to ZoomerMedia for comment on Ford’s apology.
Video of the apology, via the Toronto Star, is below.
iMediaEthics’ transcript of the video is also below. Ford said:
“I want to take this opportunity to clarify my comments made in an interview with Conrad Black and to apologize to Daniel Dale for the way in which the media has interpreted my statements. I never called Mr. Dale a pedophile. I have never used that word to describe Mr. Dale. I do not believe Mr. Dale is a pedophile, nor did I intend to suggest that in my comments.
“My comments to Conrad Black were in context of my worse experiences with the incredible assault by media in particular, the Toronto Star, on me and my family.
“My comments to the fear I had for my family when my longtime neighbor told me that someone was lurking at my fence and appeared to be taking pictures of my family home over the fence. To be clear, I never personally saw Mr. Dale peering over the fence or taking pictures. My neighbor told me, however, that he did see someone doing this. Mr. Dale apparently denies that. At that moment I honestly believed, I honestly believed, my neighbor’s account of the events. I had no idea at the time who the person was my neighbor told me was leering over my fence.
“At that moment, I had the same fears and concern that I believe many people would have at such a report from a neighbor they have known for over 15 years and I ran to the area as quickly as I could to accost the person and attempt to protect my family.
“When I arrived at the corner of my home, very far from the land Mr. Dale advises he was researching a story about, I indeed did find that individual beside my fence in the general area my neighbor advised me. This confirmed my fears at the time. I accosted this person as I believed he was a threat to my family. This individual turned out to be Daniel Dale on assignment from the Toronto Star.
“I have no issue with Mr. Dale personally. I understand that he is an employee in the very competitive news business and must do as his superiors instruct him. I do take issue with his bosses at the Toronto Star to put him and I into this situation. I do not mean to insinuate anything about Mr. Dale personally in my interview with Mr. Black. I certainly did not intend to suggest that he is a pedophile. I was merely commenting on the thoughts that went through my mind on the night of May 2012, before I had any idea that person my neighbor told me he saw peering over my fence was a reporter on assignment from the Toronto Star.
“It is unfortunate that the word I did not say has been ascribed to me by the media but I wish to sincerely apologize again to Mr. Dale if my actual words have caused him any harm or personal offense. And if Mr. Daniel Dale is here, i want to personally apologize to him.”