2013 CJPAC Action and “Buttgate”
The Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) hosted its ACTION Party on March 8, 2013 at the Arcadian Court.
An incident at the event involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Sarah Thomson, referred to over social media as “buttgate,” was subsequently covered by media sources which interviewed Omar Ha-Redeye:
Another guest at the function, lawyer Omar Ha-Redeye, said in an interview that Ms. Thomson did complain to him about the alleged incident shortly afterwards.
“She said `He grabbed my ass,’ that’s what she told me,” Mr. Ha-Redeye said.
Lawyer Omar Ha-Redeye confirmed that Ms. Thomson, whom he knows, approached him as they stood a few feet away from Mr. Ford.
“She said `He grabbed my ass,’ that’s what she told me,” Mr. Ha-Redeye said in an interview.
“… It surprised me. I looked at her, she said `Yeah, he’s never done that before any of the other times we’ve taken photos together’. We were in a crowded hallway so I don’t think she wanted to make a scene or anything like that.”
He said he did not personally witness the incident and could only confirm that she spoke to him.
Thomson, the dreadlocked transit advocate and publisher of the Women’s Post, says she arrived at the party with assistant Sarah Patterson and greeted Ford chief of staff Mark Towhey, who said the mayor was upstairs…
Patterson told the Star a shocked-looking Thomson told her about the alleged grab and Florida comment at the event. Omar Ha-Redeye, the next guest waiting in line, says Thomson told him as well.
Omar Ha-Redeye, a politically active lawyer with ties to the Liberal party, attended the event, and confirmed to NOW that after Thomson met with the mayor, she complained that he had grabbed her behind.
“I saw Sarah immediately after she left Rob Ford. So she came around the corner, and she told me about it at that time,” Ha-Redeye said.
Ha-Redeye said he couldn’t say whether Towhey’s description of Thomson being “happy” was accurate.
“I don’t know if I can gauge her in that way, I just know that she wasn’t making a scene. That may just have been a political choice on her behalf, or not wanting to disrupt the event,” he said.
Descriptions of the mayor that evening varied. Omar Ha-Redeye, a lawyer who may have been the first person Ms. Thomson confided in, said the mayor looked like he usually did, a “little socially inept,” not very talkative and avoiding eye contact
Meanwhile, Omar Ha-Redeye, a Toronto lawyer who was also at the party, told CityNews that Thomson told him about the incident immediately after it occurred.
“She did indicate to me that Ford grabbed her ass,” Ha-Redeye said in a phone interview, adding that he didn’t see the alleged incident himself.
Omar Ha-Redeye said he was the first person Thomson talked to after the alleged grab. He was waiting to get his own photo with the mayor, who had sat with his back the corner of the room, when she approached him.
“She told me that (Ford) grabbed her ass,” Ha-Redeye said
Mayor Ford’s statement:
Last night I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful event to support the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee.
This is an event that is attended by numerous political leaders and where I have been a guest in the past.
Early this morning, false allegations were made regarding a number of disgusting actions. I am shocked, dismayed and surprised. I can say without hesitation that they are absolutely, completely false.
What is more surprising is that a woman who has aspired to be a civic leader would cry wolf on a day where we should be celebrating women across the globe.
This is a day we should all take the time to reflect upon the women in our lives and in our society. It is a day when we can envision the changes we want to make in our communities to ensure that all people are equal and that violence and discrimination against women comes to an end.
— Jude MacDonald (@judemacdonald) March 9, 2013