Ford brothers set new speed record for completing their cycle of denial
Anyone who follows Rob Ford’s tribulations knows that the way the mayor handles allegations is always more or less the same. Lately he’s had to cope with so many crises that the whole process seems to have become more efficient. Tuesday’s Steak Queen video, for instance, had been leaked, denied, admitted to, and waved aside before the day’s papers even went to press. Everything was said and done in a matter of hours—a new record for the Fords, who usually takes weeks, if not months, to complete the cycle.
Here, a look at the four stages of Ford-style crisis management, and how they’ve manifested themselves over the years.
Stage One: Denial
When potentially damaging news starts circulating, the Fords’ opening gambit is a quick denial. On Tuesday, Doug Ford initially told reporters that a video of an inebriated mayor ranting in Jamaican patois wasn’t what it seemed. “I’ll repeat what [Rob Ford] said 10 million times,” Doug said. “[Since] the beginning of November, he hasn’t taken a drink. It’s simple.”
Past Ford denials:
“It’s hard to be thrown out of [a] hockey game when you weren’t even there.” (April 2006)
-Ford, denying that he loudly berated other hockey fans after drinking too much during a Leafs game at the ACC.
“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.” (July 2011)
-Ford’s official Twitter account, after several media outlets ran stories about the mayor allegedly flipping off a mother and her young daughter through his car window.
“I do not smoke crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine.” (May 2013)
-Ford’s now-infamous denial, issued about a week after the the first reports of the existence of the crack video were published.
Stage Two: Anger
Faced with continued skepticism after their initial denials, the Fords have often tried to blame the media for the mayor’s problems. To his credit, the mayor didn’t do this on Tuesday.
Past Ford outbursts:
“This is lies after lies and lies. And I’ve called you pathological liars, and you are. So why don’t you take me to court?” (March 2013)
-Ford, at a press conference on an unrelated topic, trying to deny that he had been asked to leave the Garrison Ball as result of intoxicated behaviour.
“In my opinion, folks, this is a clear, clear agenda, very well-organized agenda, from some of our competitors, and in my opinion, they don’t want Rob Ford here.” (December 2013)
-Doug Ford, accusing the police, the media, and liberal politicians of colluding to ruin the mayor’s reputation with drug and gang allegations.
Stage Three: Bargaining
In some cases, when evidence of some misdeed becomes virtually irrefutable, Ford will offer up a reason that his behaviour wasn’t actually as bad as it appeared to be. Tuesday’s version came in the form of an appeal to privacy. “I was with some friends and what I do in my personal life and my personal friends, that’s up to me,” Ford told reporters after the video surfaced. “It’s my own time.”
Past Ford justifications:
“Rob and I are average guys. We go down to a festival, we have a couple of beers.” (August 2013)
-Doug Ford, explaining the mayor’s behaviour at the 2013’s Taste of the Danforth, where he was spotted stumbling around and slurring his words.
“So, I wasn’t lying. You didn’t ask the correct questions.” (November 2013)
-Rob Ford, explaining to reporters why he waited months before confessing to having smoked crack cocaine. In fact, members of the media had asked him about his crack use on several occasions before his dramatic admission on November 5.
Stage Four: Acceptance
Every time Ford has had admit to some kind of wrongdoing, he has found a way to put the incident behind him, at least temporarily. Typically he does this by briefly acknowledging responsibility and then refusing to take any followup questions. Today’s handling of Tuesday’s revelations has been right out of the playbook.
Past Ford discussion-enders:
“It is what it is and I can’t change the past.” (November 2013)
-Ford, brushing off reporters after admitting to having smoked crack cocaine.
“I’m honest. When I say I did it, I did it. I think that’s as straightforward and honest as you can be. So we’ll see what happens at election time. What else can I do? I work hard, it was in my own private time and when you’re a politician, you are in the spotlight, and I made a mistake and I am deeply sorry for what I did. I’ve apologized and I will move on to doing my job as I’ve always done for the past six years.” (May 2006)
-Then-councillor Rob Ford, admitting to drunkenly insulting fellow fans at a hockey game at the ACC, two weeks after denying that he was even there.