Rob Ford took a photo with a neo-Nazi (but he didn’t know he was a neo-Nazi)
Rob Ford’s pseudo-scandals keep getting stranger and stranger. Apparently, at the 2012 New Year’s Levee, the mayor met and took photos with some 800 members of the public—one of whom, unbeknownst to Ford, was a white supremacist. Author and Liberal insider Warren Kinsella found the photo on Facebook and called out Ford on his blog this morning, pointing out that Jon Latvis, the man in the photo, is a former member of a neo-Nazi band and has a swastika tattoo. Cue a frothed-up reaction from the Twitterverse—which seems pretty unfair considering that Ford poses for photos with thousands of residents each year and, according to an official statement, had no idea about Latvis’s views (which we guess he didn’t voice as they were smiling for the camera, though perhaps his uniform should have been a clue). [WarrenKinsella.com]
Here’s the full statement from the mayor’s office:
An online blog today posted a picture of Mayor Rob Ford meeting a citizen during the 2012 New Year’s Levee at Toronto City Hall. The blog alleges the man posing with the Mayor is a member of a hate group and has a history of making racist, hateful and offensive comments.
The Mayor of Toronto meets, and poses for photos, with thousands of residents each year. Over the past two years, the Mayor has hosted two New Year’s Levees. These events welcomed over 800 visitors to City Hall, and 700 to 750 of them were personally greeted by the Mayor who posed with them for photographs.
While having his photo taken with the Mayor, the gentleman in the photo requested a meeting with the Mayor to discuss issues of concern to him as a constituent. The Mayor routinely receives these requests from members of the public and makes every effort to accommodate them whenever possible. In March 2012, the gentleman met briefly with the Mayor to discuss his concerns which primarily focussed on transit issues.
During both the Levee and the March meeting, the gentleman identified himself using a name different from the one attributed to him in the recent blog article. Once the photograph was posted online today, Mayor’s Office staff recognized the individual as someone who had met with the Mayor at the Levee and again in March.
At no time was the Mayor aware of allegations that this individual had made racist, hateful or otherwise offensive comments, nor were any such comments made during his meeting with the Mayor. Mayor Ford is a strong supporter of Toronto’s Jewish community and strongly deplores anti-Semitism in any form.