I was reading recently that despite having finally admitting to smoking crack, buying drugs while in office, being regularly “in a drunken stupor” in pubic, and addressing sexual harassment allegations by commenting that he “gets enough to eat at home”, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s approval rating is back on the rise since his confession. Holding steady at 42%, (!!!), one-third of Toronto voters said they would vote for him again. Which begs the re-examination of the age-old question, is any PR good PR?
How much bad press can one person get before it’s unrecoverable? History tells us that a President can mess around with an intern, lie about it, then come clean about it and still be beloved. We’ve seen heroes fall and celebrities humbled; only to bounce back with even more success. Think Robert Downey Junior, Martha Stewart, Tiger Woods.
Is it the act of ‘coming clean’ that allows us to forgive? Or is it the personal scandal itself that endears these people as it shows that they are not so different from the average person. They screwed up so they appear more human to us. In fact, one Toronto constituent was quoted in the media as saying just that about Rob Ford!
With Ford being plastered in the news, it’s easy to forget that only a year ago Gérald Tremblay resigned as Montreal mayor, following months of besieged with allegations of corruption. Sadly for Torontonians, and all Canadians, it seems that Rob Ford will not be bowing out gracefully – which will no doubt lead to more dirty laundry being aired, more SNL skits, and more jokes for late-night talk shows.
However, his rising approval rating suggests that Ford may very well recover from this scandal. But between Ford and the ongoing Pamela Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau Senate spending scandal, our country’s international reputation is getting caught in the crossfire. These individuals may recover, but Canada is getting a bad rap.