“On Thursday I served Rob Ford with a libel notice, the first step in the process of pursuing a defamation lawsuit,” Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale wrote in an article Thursday, explaining why he’d chosen to take legal action against Toronto’s controversial mayor.
As my libel notice says, I’m asking Ford to 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.
On Wednesday, Poynter reported on a piece by Dale detailing his versions of events in May, when he was in a park adjacent to Ford’s home for a story. On Monday, Ford appeared on TV with Conrad Black and said, according to a piece by the Star’s Robyn Doolittle:
“Daniel Dale is in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids,” Ford told Black on a taped interview that aired on Vision TV Monday night.
“He’s taking pictures of little kids. I don’t want to say that word but you start thinking what this guy is all about.”
Ford was apparently asked about his comments in a Conrad Black interview in which he alluded that award-winning journalist Daniel Dale was a pedophile.
Ford told Black that back in May 2012, he caught Dale “in his backyard” taking pictures of his kids. The mayor earlier said Dale was standing on cinder blocks, peering into his backyard.
Conrad Black, a former Canadian newspaper publisher who spent time in U.S. prison for fraud, conducted the interview with Ford, and he told CBC Radio host Carol Off that fact-checking Ford wasn’t his job, according to a Thursday piece from Matthew Coutts for Yahoo News.
“I didn’t do the editing. I wasn’t going to leap from my chair and throttle the mayor,” Black told Off. “I was his guest in his office and he can say what he wants. And if he says slanderous things he’ll have to face the consequences of that and I don’t doubt the Star would not be hesitant to sue him if it really is a slander. But I think it’s a bit much to expect me to know that. I mean I haven’t made a study of every aspect of the mayor’s controversy.”
Black further said he didn’t take Ford’s comment to insinuate pedophilia – perhaps only that the reporter was a Peeping Tom.
After hearing Dale’s full account of events, Coutts wrote, Black “conceded that it appeared Ford may have lied during the interview.”
Dale will continue covering the city hall beat, he wrote Thursday, and he has the full support of his newspaper in the libel case.
One final word. Dozens of people, including people personally harmed by pedophilia, have offered me a total of thousands of dollars in donations for my legal fees. That’s remarkable.
I’m fortunate to work for an employer willing to go bat for its employees, and the Star will be covering my costs, so I’m good for cash. Perhaps all that offered money could be donated to an organization that assists victims of child abuse, and we can create some light out of all this dark nonsense? Maybe someone could ask the mayor if he would join us.