I think I need a shower after yesterday’s story. Sarah Thomson accused Rob Ford of grabbing her ass at a gala event the previous evening. It all started when she posted a now infamous photo on Facebook, and twitter overnight Thursday its caption alluding to the alleged location of Ford’s hand.
Someone accuses the Mayor of Toronto of such behavior, and it’s news. Big news. So of course media outlets are going to call; they’re going to want to hear your story. Enter the first interview of the morning with John Moore and Dave Agar. She told her story, and hinted around the possibility of Ford having substance abuse problems.
Agar pointed out to her how close she was getting to slander/libel, asking her flat-out if she understood these issues. If she was wrong, she could be opening herself up to a lawsuit. She stammered a bit before saying that she did. I wonder if she actually seriously did if she realized the seriousness of her allegations. That if the supposed “incident” didn’t actually take place, then she will/should likely be sued. . It could also completely ruin her reputation and any future political ambitions.
By evening her story had changed. She had spoken “casually” to a cop about it, and apparently even been asked if she wanted to press charges. She declined, but in an interview later explained she was in shock at the incident. How do you have a “casual conversation” about sexual assault with a police officer? I’d imagine you can’t; the minute they learned of it they probably are in some sense obligated to do something about it.
Not only that but Thomson sounded as if she was regretting the media circus her allegations caused. I’ll leave it up to the legal system to decide who is right or wrong as it comes to the evidence. Needless to say if Ford’s guilty then he should pay a price. If it turns out however she’s wrong, then she should pay one too. You shouldn’t be able to get away with falsely accusing someone.
In the court of public opinion it doesn’t look good. This all started on Facebook, and twitter. It’s kind of odd that was her first reaction was to post it there. Her story loses credibility because of that; who believes everything they see on twitter and Facebook anymore? Every time someone experiences something bad it’s reflex to put it on twitter and Facebook. It’s become as natural as breathing.
Thomson ran for Mayor in 2010, and is likely running for Mayor next year. The idea she’s done this for publicity has occurred to me. Especially when you consider the likely contender is Olivia Chow who has some serious political game of her own. And who is also more popular than Thomson too.
Whatever happens, this will stick to Ford even if he’s innocent. These allegations linger in the eternal memory of the internet. Let them serve as a reminder of the power of social media.