While I do believe what Rob Ford said matters to the historical and public record of Ford’s troubled tenure – and to the journalistic record of covering this wild story — I do not see any clear answers regarding Ford’s exact words.
By Kathy English for the Toronto Star
All things considered, I would far prefer to let Rob Ford to rest in peace rather than write one more word about that infamous crack cocaine video released in a public courtroom last week, some four months after the former Toronto mayor’s death.
But, throughout the past week, we have heard from a handful of readers in emails — and more vociferously via social media – about the discrepancies between Ford’s exact words as they appear in the official transcript that accompanies the now-released video and what the Star first reported that Ford “appeared to say” in May 2013 when it broke its bombshell story about two Star reporters having seen a video of the mayor smoking crack cocaine.
Essentially these discrepancies come down to a couple of questions related to what was has long been characterized as Ford’s “homophobic and racist” comments: Did the clearly incoherent Ford use the words “fat d**k” in referring to Justin Trudeau – as the accompanying video transcript released by the court states, or, did Ford call Trudeau a “fag” as reporters Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle initially reported they believed they heard the mayor say when they viewed the 70-second iPhone video while sitting in a car in a dark parking lot unable to take any notes whatsoever.
As well, the court transcript, presumably prepared by Toronto police as evidence for court, records Ford as saying “F*** (inaudible) the minorities, dude”. In the Star’s original report, Donovan and Doolittle report that they heard Ford refer to “f***ing minorities.”
In looking into these concerns and calls for the Star to correct the record, I am at a loss to determine definitively what Ford actually said, both because of his incoherence and the quality of the video. But, given the discrepancies in what the now-public transcript tells us and what the Star first reported, I see need for clarification and further explanation from the reporters, who, I believe, did their best to discern Ford’s mumble-jumble of words under extremely challenging and somewhat dangerous circumstances.