TORONTO (Reuters) - A video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford ranting in a Jamaican accent and slurring his words on Monday was a “minor setback,” he said, maintaining that his personal life did not interfere with his job.
“Monday was unfortunate. I had a minor setback. We all experience these difficult bumps in life,” Ford said at a press conference called on Wednesday to discuss the city’s budget vote.
“This is completely a private matter. There are some counselors who claim that my personal life is somehow impacting their work,” he said. “Folks, that is absolute nonsense.”
Ford, who pledged last year to clean up his act after a crack-smoking scandal, admitted on Tuesday he had been drinking the previous evening when the video was shot at a suburban eatery.
In the video, taken from a low angle and posted on YouTube, Ford stands at the counter of a fast-food restaurant and rants about surveillance that police carried out last year during a drug investigation.
“Chase me around five months, man,” he said, before using a Jamaican profanity. In much of the video, Ford puts on a Jamaican accent. “He’s hiding here; I‘m hiding here. You know how much money that costs?”
In November, Ford said he had smoked crack while in a “drunken stupor” and driven a car after drinking. Those admissions came after police revealed they had a video of the mayor smoking what appeared to be crack. The video had been uncovered in the course of a drug investigation.
Ford, who has registered to run in this year’s municipal election, has maintained he is not addicted to drugs or alcohol. In late November, he said he had stopped drinking completely.
The crack scandal, as well as other embarrassing episodes, including a separate expletive-laden video where an admittedly intoxicated Ford makes threats against unspecified people, made Ford the target of late-night TV lampooning. Toronto’s city council has reduced his powers and handed much of his responsibility to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.
Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Gunna Dickson