Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will reportedly take a leave of absence to seek assistance for his substance abuse issues.
According to ABC News, Ford's attorney, Dennis Morris, said the 44-year-old acknowledged his struggles and wants to take action. The news comes after the Toronto Sun claims to have secured "raunchy" audio footage of a heavily intoxicated Ford making lewd comments in a Toronto bar Monday night:
The audio recording, covertly taped by a patron of Sullie Gorman’s Monday night, captures the mayor being unruly as he’s ordering booze at the Royal York Rd. bar, complaining about his wife Renata and making lewd comments about mayoral contender Karen Stintz.
“I’d like to f-----g jam her (Stintz), but she doesn’t want ... I can’t talk like this...I’m so sorry,” Ford is heard saying on the recording. “I forgot there’s a woman in the house.”
Stintz and her campaign reportedly want an immediate apology from Ford:
Stintz on Ford: Comments released tonight are deeply offensive..That a sitting mayor would make such shocking, bigoted remarks is disgusting— CP24 (@CP24) May 1, 2014
Stintz: "This is the not first time Ford has made misogynistic comments. Unfortunately, there are many that keep giving Rob Ford a pass."— CP24 (@CP24) May 1, 2014
Stintz' campaign says they want "full apology" from Ford "not only to Stintz but all in this great city who expect more from their mayor."— CP24 (@CP24) May 1, 2014
Furthermore, the Globe and Mail says two of its reporters have viewed yet another video of Ford smoking crack in the early hours of Saturday morning.
From the Associated Press:
It reports the video is part "of a package of three videos the dealer said was surreptitiously filmed around 1:15 a.m., and which he says he is now selling for "at least six figures."
Ford's decision to step away from his campaign and these new allegations come nearly a year after Gawker broke the news of a video showing Ford smoking crack existing, and Ford's eventual admission to smoking crack last November. In between have been a series of puzzling events that, while amusing to the general public, have been nothing short of embarrassing for the mayor and his family.
Ford, who is up for re-election in October, will keep his name on the ballot.
UPDATE: Ford has released a statement on the matter:
Tonight I want to take some time to speak from my heart to the people of Toronto. It’s not easy to be vulnerable and this is one of the most difficult times in my life. I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time.
Today, after taking some time to think about my own well-being, how to best serve the people of Toronto and what is in the best interests of my family, I have decided to take a leave from campaigning and from my duties as Mayor to seek immediate help.
I have tried to deal with these issues by myself over the past year. I know that I need professional help and I am now 100% committed to getting myself right.
I love the people of Toronto, I love being your mayor and I hope you will continue to stand by me.
With the support of my family, friends, professionals and the people of Toronto, I will conquer this.
Please keep me and my family in your prayers during these difficult days ahead.
I just want to say to the people of Toronto that I thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement. I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate it.
Mayor Rob Ford
According to CP24, Toronto Star editor Michael Cooke said the paper plans to publish a story about two unruly nights Ford spent at Toronto's Muzik nightclub. It's there that Ford allegedly got into a confrontation with Justin Bieber after the pop star made a joke about the crack video:
UPDATE #2: According to the Toronto Star, witnesses reportedly watched Ford do cocaine at Muzik nightclub in April. In addition, the Star claims the alleged Bieber encounter took place on Mar. 15 and went as follows:
On March 15, an hour before he disappeared into a washroom at Muzik, Ford ran into pop star Justin Bieber in a common area of the exclusive nightclub near Toronto’s waterfront, according to witnesses. Ford tried to shake Bieber’s hand and became enraged when Bieber jokingly asked him, “Did you bring any crack to smoke?”
Security ushered Ford back to his party booth, where he was entertained, along with the four men, by three paid party hostesses. The Star has been unable to reach Bieber for comment.
The plot thickens.
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