Rob Ford waves his fist at a Toronto Star reporter in a bizarre backyard altercation

Rob Ford waves his fist at a Toronto Star reporter in a bizarre backyard altercation

(Image: Christopher Drost)

The ongoing beef between Rob Ford and the Toronto Star got real weird last night. Here’s the rundown: around 7:30 pm, a neighbour alerted the mayor that someone was skulking near his backyard. That lurker was Toronto Star city hall reporter Daniel Dale, who was investigating a story about the Fords wanting to buy a small tract of parkland behind their Etobicoke property from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority for, ironically, security reasons (apparently they want to build a bigger fence). Dale, who, the Toronto Star stresses heavy-handedly, is an award-winning journalist, a familiar face to Ford and a wee fellow, says the mayor (dressed in his own campaign shirt) charged at him, brandishing his fist.

Even in his own account, Dale doesn’t come off as particularly heroic:

Every time I tried to sidestep him to escape, he moved with me and yelled at me again to drop my phone. I became more frightened than I can remember; after two or three attempts to dart away, I threw my phone and my recorder down on the grass, yelled that he could take them, and ran.”

Meanwhile, Ford—who is considering trespassing charges, though Dale says he stayed 10 metres from the property—alleges the reporter was standing on cinder blocks near the backyard and was spying on him and his family. He told the the John Oakley Show on AM640 that Dale had no reason to worry about being assaulted:

I never laid a hand on the guy. I said ‘buddy, I am giving you two seconds to get out of here. […] He started saying ‘Help, help, help’ and I said ‘What are you saying help for?’

Ford did admit he shouldn’t have confronted Dale, to which we say: yup. But Dale also could have conducted his explorations during the daytime, and notified Ford’s press team that he’d be there. Come on, people. The entire debacle is just embarrassing for Ford, for the Star and for Toronto.

• Mayor Rob Ford chases and confronts Toronto Star reporter [Toronto Star]
• Rob Ford threatens media blackout unless Star removes reporter from city hall beat [National Post]