Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford: A lesson of what not to do in crisis public relations


Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford seems to be doing a lot of apologizing.

Every day brings another apology. The apologies usually punctuate a rant at City Hall where he declares his innocence and suggests the he is the victim and the world keeps attacking him.

Of course his assessment of reality might be somewhat clouded by drugs, after all he has admitted to using illegal drugs. And it isn’t like he’s acting rationally. Let’s be honest: He’s acting like someone who’s using and abusing.

Now there are accusations of binge drinking and solicitation of prostitution on City Hall property. He denies it but it seems like almost no one believes him.

Though he apologizes, time and time again he comes across as insincere and forced–coming only because he has done something or said something and has no choice.

The public believes that he should stop apologizing and instead just stop doing it.

The news headlines today:

CNN: Is it the end for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
CTV News: Toronto council to debate motions to strip Mayor Rob Ford of his powers
USA Today: Toronto mayor ‘sorry’ for crude remark, seeks help

There has yet to be contrition from Mayor Rob Ford. So the apologies always seem empty.

Does anyone even believe he’s sorry?

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford sounds like the booze addicted husband who abuses his wife who apologizes the next day when he sobers up. (And no, I am not suggesting he abuses his wife. I said he sounds like.)

None of this is good if you are the mayor of Canada’s largest city who is trying to move forward and get the public on your side.

Mayor Rob Ford had a shot at keeping his job and moving forward had he shown contrition and then retreated when this PR crisis first began.

But he did not.

He tried to order it to go away. He actually believed that simply admitting that he took drugs and declaring he doesn’t have a substance abuse problem the whole thing would just go away.

At this point, because of how he’s acted since the crisis started, it seems Mayor Rob Ford needs a miracle to keep his post.

Proves the point that it is usually not the crime, the substance abuse or the mistake that does a politician in; it’s how you deal with the public relations crisis. The ones who deal well, survive more often than not.

Unfortunately for him, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has dealt with it about as badly as anyone could.

So what now? Mayor Rob Ford should be thinking about his legacy. He should disappear for a bit and let the situation come down to a simmer. He should go get help and then assess when he can think clearly.

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