Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ford faces libel notice after Black TV interview

Toronto Star reporter alleges remark suggests pedophilia

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attends a news conference at City Hall in Toronto on Tuesday December 10 2013.Ford says he stands by 'every word' he said during a televised interview in which he appeared to accuse a reporter of being a pedophile.

CHRIS YOUNG / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attends a news conference at City Hall in Toronto on Tuesday December 10 2013.Ford says he stands by 'every word' he said during a televised interview in which he appeared to accuse a reporter of being a pedophile.

TORONTO -- Mayor Rob Ford was slapped with a libel notice late Thursday for televised comments he made about a reporter, who said the remarks amounted to an accusation of pedophilia.

Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale would not comment on his suit that also names Vision TV, which aired the Ford interview, saying an article he wrote for his newspaper would have to stand.

"Enough is enough. I can't tolerate it. I won't tolerate it," Dale wrote.

"I'm asking Ford to immediately retract the false insinuation that I am a pedophile. I am also serving Vision TV, which twice broadcast Ford's vile and defamatory remarks... even though their interview was filmed days before it aired."

The notice also calls for Vision TV to apologize.

Ford said a day after the interview he stands by "every word."

He left city hall Thursday without saying anything.

In the interview broadcast Monday, Ford told host Conrad Black that Dale had perpetrated the worst invasion of his privacy during a May 2012 incident.

"Daniel Dale is in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. He's taking pictures of little kids," Ford told the former media baron and convicted felon. "I don't want to say that word but you start thinking what this guy is all about."

Dale maintains he was writing a story about a plot of public land adjacent to Ford's house that the mayor wanted to buy, so he went to take a look when the mayor emerged from his home to confront him.

The reporter said at no time did he ever take any photographs of the mayor's family, house or even his property -- and a police investigation bore that out.

He said he was suing reluctantly, and only because Ford was repeating lies about what had happened.

He cited Ford's comments on the Washington-based Sports Junkies program on Thursday in which Ford said, "When you've got young kids, that freaked me right out."

The comments brought renewed attention to the "malicious and defamatory insinuation" that the reporter had some sort of "predatory interest in young children," Dale said, adding he has received strong support.

"Dozens of people... have offered me a total of thousands of dollars in donations for my legal fees."

The libel notice is the first step in the process of suing for defamation. If Ford refuses to apologize and withdraw the comments, Dale said, he would have to be prepared to "repeat his lies under penalty of perjury" in a courtroom.

Vision said it would release a statement at a later date.

On Tuesday, a defiant Ford refused to apologize to Dale or clarify his comments. "I stand by my words, what I said with Conrad Black," an angry Ford told a news conference. "I stand by every word I said."

Black told CBC Radio on Wednesday Ford's comments were open to interpretation: "He wasn't saying (Dale) was a pedophile. You don't have to be a pedophile, you can just be unduly nosy, and frankly, lots of journalists are."

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, who has assumed most of the mayor's powers in light of the various scandals, has denounced Ford's comments as "beyond the pale" and called on him to apologize.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 13, 2013 A18

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