Toronto Star reporter to press on with Rob Ford defamation lawsuit
Andrea Janus and Daniel Bitonti, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, December 17, 2013 11:15AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 17, 2013 7:06PM EST
Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale says he intends to proceed with a defamation lawsuit against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford despite an apology from Ford in which the mayor said he does not believe Dale is a pedophile.
Dale told CTV News Channel that Ford’s apology earlier Tuesday did not specifically retract the defamatory remarks made by the mayor.
“I think his words were clearly inadequate,” Dale told CTV’s Todd van der Heyden. “I asked for full retraction of all the false claims made against me and an unreserved abject apology. And whatever you call this, this was not that.”
Ford had stood in council chambers Tuesday morning to issue a formal apology to Dale, reading his apology from a single sheet of paper. He apologized to Dale “for the way in which the media has interpreted my statements.”
“I never called Mr. Dale a pedophile,” Ford said. “I have never used that word to describe Mr. Dale. I do not believe that Mr. Dale is a pedophile, nor did I intend to suggest that in my comments.”
In a sit-down interview that aired last week, Black asked Ford to identify the worst moment he had experienced with media scrutiny during the months-long scandal that has engulfed his office.
Ford mentioned a May 2, 2012 incident in which he confronted Dale on public land behind his Etobicoke home.
“I guess the worst one was Daniel Dale in my backyard taking pictures,” Ford told Black. “I have little kids. When a guy’s taking pictures of little kids, I don’t want to say that word but you start thinking, ‘What’s this guy all about?’”
Dale had served Ford with a libel notice last week for comments the mayor made during an interview with Conrad Black that aired on the show Zoomer.
In his notice, Dale had demanded that the mayor “immediately retract the false insinuation that I am a pedophile and all of his false statements about my conduct on May 2, 2012. I’m also asking Ford and Vision-owner ZoomerMedia to apologize immediately ‘publicly, abjectly, unreservedly and completely.’ If Ford does not do so, we’ll see if he is willing to repeat his lies under penalty of perjury.”
Ford said in his statement on Tuesday that during the incident in question, he believed an account from his neighbour, who alerted him to the fact that someone “was leering over my fence.
“At that moment, I had the same fears and concern that I believe many people would have with such a report from a neighbour that they’ve known for over 15 years, and I ran to the area as quickly as I could to accost the person in an attempt to protect my family,” Ford said.
He said he found Dale at a corner of his home, “very far from the land Mr. Dale advises he was researching a story about.”
“This individual turned out to be Daniel Dale on assignment from the Toronto Star. I have no issue with Mr. Dale personally. I understand that he is an employee in the very competitive news business, and must do what his superiors instruct him. I do take issue with his bosses at the Toronto Star to put him and (me) into this situation.”
Ford then repeated that he did not mean to “insinuate anything about Mr. Dale personally” in the interview with Black, or suggest that Dale is a pedophile.
He said he was “merely commenting on the thoughts that went through my mind…before I had any idea that the person my neighbour told me he saw peering over my fence was a reporter on assignment from the Toronto Star.”
Dale said he had hoped Ford would address the claims the mayor made against him, specifically retracting that he was leering over Ford’s fence, was in his backyard, and was taking pictures of his children.
“Something like that would have been great,” Dale said.
Fords interview with Black sparked a massive social media response, with most viewers believing Ford was insinuating that Dale was a pedophile.
The next day, Ford told reporters that he stood by every word of the interview.
Dale has repeatedly said he was never on Ford’s property and police confirmed that he did not have any photographs saved on his telephone. Dale was on assignment that night, researching a story about a parcel of land adjacent to the mayor’s home that Ford was hoping to purchase.
Dale said the current ordeal has made his life “less pleasant than it should be.”
“I’ve gotten a lot of support and people have been great. I have also gotten a number of emails and tweets and calls from people calling me pedophile and pervert or terrible things like that,” he said. “It also complicates my job and also puts me in the spotlight where I never wanted to be. It’s not pleasant.”