Cheol Joon Baek
Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford returned to their weekly radio program Sunday afternoon, May 26. At the end of the show's first hour, they took calls.
Joe on line 1 was a parent of students at Don Bosco who was upset about the mayor's being turfed as the coach of its football team.
Trevor on line 2 was a university student who complained about journalists not having to cite sources as rigorously as he does when he's writing an essay.
And then there was Pam on line 4, who asked, "Mayor Ford, is that you in the Gawker video, and is that you photographed with your arm around drug dealer Anthony Smith?"
"There's...." The mayor sputtered and laughed. "Number one, there's no video, so that's all I can say. You can't comment on something that doesn't exist. And I take pictures with everybody. Um, everywhere I go, as of last night, I take pictures with everyone, so, uh...."
It was the first time he'd responded to either question, and it was his only firm denial of the video's existence.
Doug jumped in and explained that asking about the photo was racist. "That's a racist comment. Rob has taken thousands of pictures with young black men, with their hats on, with their little funny signs and everything else, but I think it's disgusting that you would even come up with a comment, ‘Why is he taking pictures of two young black youth?'"
The Fords went on to mock the idea that the mayor should make himself aware of people's backgrounds and histories before he poses with them. "Unfortunately, we have some racists there, and that's one of 'em," Rob said. "That's very sad that she's a racist."
So how did this caller get through? And how does she feel about having been deemed a racist by the mayor?
It turns out that "Pam from Scarborough" - as she identified herself to the screener - is actually Chris Logan from downtown Toronto.
"Oh, I totally lied," she tells me on the phone late Monday afternoon. She chose "Pam" because it "sounded like a nice middle-class Scarborough name.
"I think I [told the screener] I wanted to encourage Rob Ford.... Something like ‘Hang in,' applaud him for everything he'd done this week." And then Logan said he "should sue those idiots at the Toronto Star."
When half-jokingly asked by the screener whether there was anyone else she wanted the mayor to sue, Logan remembers saying, "Oh yeah, those idiots at the Globe and Mail, too!
"I tried to make myself as strident a Ford Nation member as I could," she says. (In the past, Newstalk staff have clarified that they, not the Fords' people, are responsible for routing incoming calls.)
She was on hold for an hour, after which, "Well, I asked the two questions and then they immediately disconnected."
It was only when she ran to her kitchen, where her daughter had been listening to the show on a computer, that she found out how the Fords had reacted. "Mummy, he's calling you a racist," her daughter apparently said.
So why go through the whole ruse and wait on the line for an hour just to put these questions to the mayor? "I think any sane person, any sane citizen of this city, wants to ask him if that is him in the video," Logan says. She recalls that earlier in the show, Doug was saying, "The people need to speak."
"Well, here's a member of the people," she says.". I want to know, ‘Is that you in the video smoking crack cocaine?'"