Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is "making a fool of himself," says former Washington mayor Marion Barry, who himself was videotaped smoking crack cocaine.
In an interview with Slate, Mr. Barry, who is a current city councillor and a former four-term mayor of Washington, said he understands Mayor Ford's struggles with addiction but it does not excuse his other behaviour.
"He's making a fool of himself. He shouldn't use the fact that he's been abusing drugs as an excuse for being a fool," he said.
"I sympathize with him. I know what he's going through, but I don't agree with what he's doing."
Mr. Barry was the mayor of Washington in 1990 when he was videotaped smoking crack cocaine and arrested by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation on drug charges. He spent six months in prison before making a return to politics, first winning a seat on council in 1992 and then succeeding in another bid at mayor in 1994.
Before his arrest, Mr. Barry was well known for being the first civil-rights activist to serve as mayor of a major American city. He was first elected as mayor in 1979.
Mayor Ford recently returned to work at City Hall after spending six weeks at a rehab facility. He admitted to using crack cocaine after a video surfaced showing him using the drug.
Despite their similarities, Mr. Barry scoffed at a comparison with Mr. Ford.
"He's not connected to me. He doesn't have my historical record of achievement in America," he said. "There's no comparison."