Mayor’s office allegedly pulls Now Magazine from city hall, increasing Now’s exposure by 10,000 per cent

Mayor’s office allegedly pulls Now Magazine from city hall, increasing Now’s exposure by 10,000 per cent

The city’s media has a touchy relationship with Rob Ford’s weight. The mayor is rarely as disarming to reporters as when he’s joking about “needing to lose a few pounds” or that “it’s hard to hide 300 pounds of fun.” But it seems that every time somebody else actually draws attention to the mayor’s body, the whole thing blows up. The latest controversy is over Now’s current cover story, headlined “The Naked Truth about Rob Ford.” Three guesses as to what kind of Photoshopped image Now chose to slap on its cover (the first two don’t count).

According to the Toronto Star, hilarity ensued:

Saying she had been asked to do so by Mayor Rob Ford’s office, a city hall custodial supervisor directed her colleagues Thursday to remove from city buildings all copies of a Now Magazine issue featuring a computer-altered image of a shirtless Ford on the cover and a raunchier altered image inside.

The issue hit newsstands Thursday morning. Lorraine Pickett sent the e-mail at 9 a.m. to the city hall security desk and to custodial managers responsible for other city buildings. It read: “Hi all, I have a request from the mayor’s office to remove all Now newspapers from all City of Toronto locations/facilities A.S.A.P. Please remove and dispose.”

The directive was reversed in the early afternoon. But in a statement, Now editor and chief executive Alice Klein said, “We are outraged. As far as I’ve heard, there’s still such a thing as freedom of expression in Ford Nation.”

Adrienne Batra, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office, says it was all one big misunderstanding, and we sure hope that’s the case. Thanks to the confusion, Toronto’s mayor, Now and Batra herself have all been Gawkered, exposing the pictures to an audience many times larger than the alt-weekly’s regular readership. Many of those gawkers possibly even read the article, which is probably not what the mayor’s office intended. Exposure continued on Metro Morning, where Matt Galloway spent a significant chunk of the radio show discussing the cover story with Now publisher Michael Hollett.

In the history of counterproductive misunderstandings, this ranks right up there with “will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?

Naked ambition [NOW]
• Racy NOW images of Rob Ford causes uproar at city hall [Toronto Star]
• Mayor’s Office Tries to Hide All Naked Portraits of Toronto Mayor [Gawker]