Rob Ford at May’s interfaith debate. Photo by Christopher Drost/Torontost.
Oliver Ogilvie (an internet pseudonym; he wouldn’t disclose his real name) owns RobFordMayor.com—a self-described “low grade satire” site that mocked the eponymous city councillor and mayoral candidate. This week, Ogilvie received a cease-and-desist order from Ford’s lawyers, which we’ve since obtained ourselves.
“Mr. Ford has been the Councillor representing Ward 2 in North Etobicoke since 2000,” says the letter, “and he is one of the hardest working councillors in Toronto.” It goes on to describe more of Ford’s community engagement record.
“These postings in their entirety are clearly false and defamatory,” says the letter of the content on Ogilvie’s site.
The letter accuses Ogilvie of trademark infringement, and then demands that he immediately remove “all material” from RobFordMayor.com, and that he issue an “unqualified apology” to Ford. Ogilvie did these things (the apology is now posted on the front page of the site), but Google’s cache still has a copy of RobFordMayor.com’s original content. (We also have a backup copy ourselves.)
Ogilvie, who describes himself as a twenty-eight year-old professional from Toronto, says the blog was his way of entertaining himself online, and also a vehicle for taking jabs at Ford, whose public persona he dislikes. “It’s stupid and it’s fun. And it was a joke,” he said. “I’m surprised that it was taken seriously by his team in itself.”
“It’s just something that I find kind of funny,” he said. “I have several blogs of a similar nature,” including IgorKenk.com and MelLastman.com.
This is the first time Ogilvie has ever received any kind of legal threat as a result of his online activities. He complied with the cease-and-desist because he wasn’t willing to chance being taken to court by Ford, he said, “even if it’s a one-percent chance.”
Ogilvie’s entries on RobFordMayor.com were first-person blog posts, written in his idea of Ford’s voice. The posts aim at satire, but generally revolve around jokes about Ford’s weight, or drawn-out masturbation scenarios with Ford as their central figure. (One post describes Ford slathering chocolate on his thighs.) The site was arguably more ridiculous and juvenile than genuinely cutting.
“I really enjoy writing in other people’s voices,” said Ogilvie. “I enjoy going over the top.”
Ford campaign spokesperson Adrienne Batra told Toronto Life that Ford’s campaign is appreciative of Ogilvie’s decision to take down his site, because “some of the hits were pretty personal, and it was getting out of hand.”
A message with Ford’s campaign headquarters was not immediately returned, leaving Ford’s personal reaction to the situation a mystery, for the moment. “All I can think of is a high-pitched yell and a really red face,” said Ogilvie.
Here, now, is the full text of the cease-and-desist letter Rob Ford’s lawyers sent to Ogilvie, by way of Ogilvie’s domain registrar: