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Reporter drops lawsuit after Rob Ford issues second apology, retracts comments

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford during a council meeting at Toronto City Hall, December 18 2013.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale is dropping his libel lawsuit against Mayor Rob Ford after Mr. Ford issued a second apology Wednesday evening for insinuating Mr. Dale may be a pedophile.

Mayor Ford had previously apologized to Mr. Dale from the council floor Tuesday, but it was what he added with his public letter Wednesday that compelled Mr. Dale to drop the lawsuit – a full retraction of his account of a May, 2012 incident in which the mayor accused Mr. Dale of "taking photos of little kids."

"I sincerely appreciate Mayor Ford's complete retraction and unqualified apology, and I'm very glad the truth is no longer in dispute," Mr. Dale tweeted Wednesday evening. "I won't be taking legal action against the mayor."

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In the letter, Mayor Ford wrote that he apologizes "for the inaccurate manner in which I described the incident of May 2012." He said that he "never saw Mr. Dale standing on bricks or cinderblocks, never saw Mr. Dale looking over my fence and never saw Mr. Dale taking any pictures."

He added that there "was absolutely no basis for the statement I made about Mr. Dale taking pictures of children, or for any insinuations i made. I should not have said what I did and I wholly retract my statements and apologize to Mr. Dale without reservation for what I said."

After passing the letter to a group of reporters Wednesday evening, the mayor's chief of staff Dan Jacobs said he considers the matter now "closed."

The mayor's brother Councillor Doug Ford told reporters afterwards ""I don't' know how much more sincere you can be. That was as sincere as you can get, so let's move on."

During the interview that aired on Vision TV last week, Mr. Ford described the incident – in which the mayor found Mr. Dale on public property behind his home -- as saying "he's taking photos of little kids. I don't want to say that word, but you start thinking, 'What's this guy all about?'"

ZoomerMedia, which owns Vision TV, apologized in a statement issued late Wednesday night.

"We have always believed that this was primarily a matter between Mr. Dale and Mr. Ford. However, we sincerely regret the part ZoomerMedia played in broadcasting the offending words spoken by Mr. Ford, and apologize for that. We can confirm that those words will never again be broadcast on any of our television outlets or websites."

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Mr. Dale also said he would not proceed with his lawsuit against the media company, writing on Twitter: "I appreciate Zoomer's statement. While it's hard to understand how the mayor's comments made it to air, I won't be taking legal action."

Mr. Ford read his first apology off of a prepared statement Tuesday, and included many of the same claims Mr. Ford has made in media interviews about his neighbour claiming Mr. Dale was "lurking' and "leering" near his fence. He also lashed out at Mr. Dale's employer the Toronto Star, for putting "him and I into this situation." But Mr. Dale, who served the mayor with a libel notice last week, said that initial apology "didn't come close" to far enough.

"While I appreciate the mayor's first step, no dad or teacher would accept that apology as sufficient. I would appreciate another try," he said Tuesday on Twitter.

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About the Author
National Food Reporter

Ann Hui is the national food reporter at The Globe and Mail. Previously, she worked as a national reporter and homepage editor for theglobeandmail.com and an online editor in News. More

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