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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Apologizes for Pedophile Comment

Rob Ford

The embattled politician rose in the City Council chambers to apologize for the remarks after a Toronto Star reporter threatened legal action.

TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Tuesday stood up in the City Hall chambers to publicly apologize to the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale for comments Ford made last week hinting the reporter was a pedophile.

"I never called Mr. Dale a pedophile. I have never used that word to describe Mr. Dale. I do not believe Mr. Dale is a pedophile nor did I intend to suggest that in my comments," the embattled politician said while reading from a prepared statement.

With those words Ford aimed to avoid the threat of legal action from Dale stemming from the mayor's appearance in a Vision TV interview conducted by disgraced media baron Conrad Black.

At the same time, the mayor may have to try another apology to satisfy Dale.

The city hall reporter on Tuesday afternoon said on his Twitter account that he was proceeding with the defamation suit as Ford's statement "didn't come close" to fully retracting his offensive comments.

During the Vision TV interview, Ford commented on a 2012 run-in with Dale on public land adjoining his private home by alleging the Toronto Star reporter was taking photos of his children in his backyard.

"I have little kids. When a guy's taking pictures of little kids, I don't want to say that word, but you start thinking, 'What's this guy all about?' " Ford said.

On Tuesday, the mayor changed his story by telling fellow councilors: "To be clear, I never personally saw Mr. Dale peering over the fence or taking pictures."

Ford added he had no personal issue with Dale, but did regard the reporter as a pawn of the Toronto Star as it looked to sell newspapers in a competitive market.

The mayor has fought a long and public battle with the Toronto Star, which intensified in May after the newspaper and the U.S. gossip website Gawker revealed they had seen a phone video which allegedly showed Ford inhaling from a crack pipe.

Ford has since admitted to smoking illicit drugs and binge drinking, revelations that were followed by the Toronto City Council stripping him of his political powers.