Today, Toronto Mayor John Tory’s staff told The Globe and Mail’s Ann Hui “Mayor’s office says they’re going to try to “break the Internet” with a tweet expected any minute now. So….” which was coming on the heels of both John Tory not knowing that Kanye West (one of the newly announced headliners for the closing of the PanAm games) was in fact, not Canadian and the John Tory twitter account tweeting out multiple poorly done photos of the “TORONTO” sign that was erected in honor of the games placed in odd and humorous locations.
My initial reaction, and the reaction shared by many others online, was of fear and disbelief as the “break the internet” line is now heavily associated with Kim Kardashian’s magazine cover in which she showed her bare butt. Thankfully (at least) this was a misdirection and the tweet was in fact a minute long video of John Tory putting on some headphones (while donning an uncharacteristic red baseball cap and sunglasses) while, it’s implied, he listens to Kanye West’s “Stronger”. In a vacuum this is horribly awkward and embarrassing and seems like something a dad would do after a few drinks while being pressured by their early twenties children because it would be hilarious on Instagram. Hell, it’s even slightly excusable that John Tory didn’t know Kanye West isn’t Canadian, did anyone expect Tory would even know who Kanye is? This video totally pissed me off though and it’s worth explaining why.
When Kanye West was announced as a headliner I expressed some disappointment that it wasn’t a Torontonian act chosen, at the time I didn’t know that both Serena Ryder and Pitbull would be headlining (and if I did I would have said Pitbull should be replaced, not Kanye). Toronto has a long history of shafting local talent, from BASE jumpers to musicians. Little did I know a petition was being made to call for Kanye to be given the boot, nor was I aware as Andray Domise pointed out, that the language being used by the Kanye haters was quite racist and misogynistic. So now we understand the background on this Kanye headliner debacle.
Concurrently to all this, today was a scheduled public board meeting of the Toronto Police Services. Specifically at this meeting the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter was planning to attend this meeting and raise the issue (along with other issues) of Andrew Loku’s death. Andrew Loku was recently killed by Toronto police. The folks who attended this meeting with Black Lives Matter crammed the room and disrupted it. This is a moment that will have reverberations in our city that most are not even aware of, at least yet. As this was happening, John Tory’s twitter uploaded and posted the video of him riding the subway.
This isn’t an issue of our mayor looking like a total old dweeb but our mayor looking like he couldn’t care less about the lives of black Torontonians. This protest was announced, this meeting was pre-scheduled. Tory, 100% knew that his staff were going to release the fun little project they did that morning right as the meeting was happening. This is why I got pissed, and why you should be too.
post script: I can’t help but point out the Tory’s account attempt at using non-patriarchal language (Kanye is “@KimKardashian’s husband”) but then countering this by showing Tory make that dumb “Niceeee!” face when he sees the Kim picture in his newspaper.
post post script: It’s relevant to include this quote: “Asked what he knows about Kardashian, Tory said: “Just that she is part of that very colourful, interesting family and that she seems to pose in pictures that show off her ample posterior on a regular basis.””