How to Solve the Mayor of Toronto’s Crack Cocaine Crisis
The Mayor of Toronto is head-deep in a crisis for smoking crack cocaine and lying about it. Ouff! Talk about a situation that no public figure would ever want to find themselves in!
Mayor Rob Ford’s crack cocaine crisis
In May 2013, reports of video footage of Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine surfaced. The Mayor spent months strongly denying any such allegations.
This week, the Toronto police reported that they had uncovered this footage from a computer. On November 5th Mayor Ford called the press and admitted to having tried crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor”.
Even with this admittance of guilt, Mayor Ford is refusing to step down as mayor. With his refusal to put the Toronto people first, and with excuses coming out of his mouth such as:
“So, I wasn’t lying. You didn’t ask the correct questions”
There’s no denying that Mayor Rob Ford has made himself Toronto’s town joke.
Moving forward and managing this crisis
There’s no use in calling out his past mistakes of attempting to cover up the story and blatantly lying about the situation (whether the “right” questions were asked or not). Obviously, he should have handled the situation differently since back in May.
What he should be doing now is apologizing profusely (which I think he’s doing a decent job at) and stepping down from his post as mayor. Choosing to stay on as mayor is a selfish move at this point. He’s not thinking about anybody but his own short-term desires. Instead, he needs to make this situation about the Toronto people – his people.
He needs to admit to having a substance abuse problem and declare that he will be resigning as mayor in order to resolve this issue for himself, his family and the Toronto people. Then, he needs to follow this up with a promise to work hard at getting better so that he can come back a stronger, better person in order to continue to fight for his city and his people. Mayor Ford has done some great things during his time as mayor and this is what needs to be the focus. A positive mission of getting better so that he can continue to fight and do good things for his community.
This would not be a selfish act. It would be about making the situation bigger than himself. He is (or at least he was) a well-liked mayor, perceived as the “guy next door”. Taking this approach and truly focusing on getting better and coming back stronger than ever would give him the opportunity to be seen as a role model for his community, somebody worth re-electing.
Unfortunately, many people think short-term while managing a crisis, when in reality, the goal always needs to be long-term management. This is a strategy that would benefit Mayor Ford for the long-term, rather than satisfying his egotistical desires in the short-term.
Discussing Rob Ford, on-air, with Tommy Schnurmacher
My local radio station, CJAD, called me yesterday morning asking if I could discuss Mayor’s Ford’s current crisis on-air with Tommy Schnurmacher. Tommy and I discussed what Mayor Ford did wrong and what he should choose to do moving forward. I’ve included the audio file below, if you’d like to have a listen.
Download .mp3 here: Click here to download .mp3
Image credit: Chris Young/Canadian Press
Beautifully put! I agree with you 100%. Though you're right, stranger things have happened, and with the right admittance, plan and communications, I do believe that Mayor Ford could have salvaged his reputation long-term. At the very least, he could have not always been seen as Toronto's town joke. Unfortunately, the mistakes he has made and continues to make are taking those chances away, day by day, minute by minute.
Another serious lesson of telling lies, as if we haven't learned enough. As a celebrity, he should first think if the lie being revealed, can he afford the aftermath. Actually no one can. Then don't lie at the first place.
What a crazy situation in Toronto. I used to think the biggest downsides to living in the city were the Maple Leafs and gridlock. Now, suppose I can add the circus at city hall to the list.
I think his “apologies” failed because they only demonstrated that the mayor truly does not understand the seriousness of his situation, or the depth of his substance abuse problem. In his scripted address, he started off well by being contrite, but then had the audacity to transition into a campaign style speech. Then, the next day, he undermined any sense of humility by playfully blowing kisses to the assembled throng of reporters. His refusal to leave office because he “loves being Mayor” shows that he is still putting his interests above the good of the city, which again undercuts the believability of his apology.
I agree with you whole-heartedly that he needs to leave and get help. He needs to be away from the spotlight… especially if the courts release the redacted portions of the surveillance and wiretap evidence the police have gathered. Those documents could reveal further embarassing, inappropriate or even criminal behaviour.
The worst thing Ford could have said was that he “had nothing left to hide.” He has left numerous questions unanswered, and reporters are not going to let go of this story. It’s likely that there’s more to come before this is all done.
At best, this mayor was a polarizing figure prior to the scandal… his record in office hasn’t matched his boasting… and given how he’s dragging this story out as long as possible and the likelihood of more revelations to come, I find it hard to see how he’ll come back from this.
But, stranger things have happened….
"Do the right thing" is a good place to start, though can mean something different to everybody. At this point, Ford is a lost cause and an embarrassment.
I think that as a “celebrity,” Ford can afford to break to the law AND lie about it. This incident has only gotten him more media attention, and celebrities in this day and age often launch their careers off the back of some scandal.
But, he isn’t a celebrity. He is an elected official who promised to put the citizens of Toronto first, and to uphold the laws. If he thinks his future career will be in politics, I agree that he needs to step down immediately (I think he should have when the rumor of the video surfaced) and get help. People are very forgiving and love a comeback, and I don’t think this would have been a political career ruiner if he hadn’t been so selfish.
If his goal is to be a celebrity, then he has followed the correct path. All eyes are on him, and he was even offered his own TV show.
A teacher of mine always says the main rule of PR is to “do the right thing.” If I were working for Ford and he refused to step down, frankly, I would have quit.