Op-Ed

Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Photo: CC, West Annex News.

After Rob Ford’s death focus on the positives, not the scandals

Rob Ford was Mayor of Toronto from 2010 to 2014, and was a personality with many contradictions. His recent death on March 22 provides a time for our society to reflect on the way we treat scandalous celebrities after their death. Although he had some rough patches along the way, those aspects don’t necessarily constitute a full picture of Rob Ford.

During his time as mayor, Ford did a lot for the city of Toronto, focusing on subway expansion and even giving out his home phone number so that citizens could reach him whenever they needed. However there were some negative aspects of his tenure. Ford faced complaints about his alleged mistreatment of the high school football team he coached.

However in 2013, Rob Ford was involved in a major scandal that lead police officers to investigate him, after reports of a video that showed him smoking crack cocaine. It wasn’t until the footage was in police possession that he came forth and confronted the media and apologized for his actions, insisting he was not an addict. Ford became a celebrity for  reasons no one wants, as he was ridiculed and mocked on talk shows across the world.

When a person is in a respected position, society tends to scrutinize their every move, with the media waiting for a small mistake to amplify across headlines. Smoking crack might not qualify as a small mistake and one of the other men in the video is dead and others, including the one recording it, were arrested by police.

A Toronto police investigation into Rob Ford never charged him, despite having video proof. Society is also less forgiving to celebrities facing a scandal, and the media often chooses to emphasize the negative aspects while neglecting the positive sides of a person, painting a very one-dimensional picture.

Regardless of how you feel about Rob Ford, it can’t be denied that these one-dimensional views spread across news outlets are dehumanizing, as they fail to recognize anything valuable Ford has done professionally or personally. Would that really increase their readership, in comparison to repeatedly alleging the mayor is incompetent?

Digging up the past after someone has passed away is also unjust to his family and loved ones who are mourning someone they cared about deeply.

Rob Ford shouldn’t be remembered for the scandals nor the negative statements.

Nonetheless it’s important to also acknowledge that he has said socially unacceptable things and in many situations also been caught on tape acting in a manner not fit for a mayor. Video emerged of Ford using racial slurs, an act for which he later apologized. However it is common courtesy to respect the mourning family by not bombarding them with the negative acts of his past immediately.

In many occasions they can not speak for him or his actions, therefore to speak ill of Rob Ford one must wait a respectable about of time and if need be put the record straight and call him out on his actions.

Let the man rest in peace.