Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said Monday that he was bullied as a child by kids who made fun of his weight and he urged victims to report bullying to the authorities.
Ford made the admission at a city hall news conference held to proclaim Bullying Awareness Week.
"When you’re overweight like I’ve been my whole life, you’re being made fun of," said Ford. "It’s not good growing up. There’s many different types of bullying, but being called fat and all that stuff, it bothers you.
"I see it in the high schools, with the football team I coach. We won’t tolerate that. We’ll keep trying to tackle the problem."
Ford also offered advice to anyone being targeted by bullies: Report the abuse immediately to teachers or police.
"You have to stand up to bullies. If you keep it inside, it could mentally harm you."
'He's not happy to be at city hall right now'
Ford and his team have been accused by some of his foes of using bullying tactics in order to get his way in council.
Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, whose policy views are frequently at odds with the mayor's, said in an interview that Ford "is very passionate about the issues that he wants to advocate for and sometimes it can come across as being very aggressive."
She was then asked if she finds that the mayor is in fact quiet when she has one-on-one interactions with him.
"Yes, I've always found that one-on-one the mayor is actually quite shy. I don't get the sense from him that he's overly confident as a man, you know, in his role as mayor. I think he really cares quite deeply about the things that he cares about. But there's a part of me that just sometimes thinks that he's in over his head and perhaps he doesn't want to be here," she said.
"You know, most of us come to work and we're really happy to be here — good days, bad days, long days and short days. My reading of the mayor is that he's not happy to be at city hall right now."