Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow has apologized for a recent campaign appearance with WWE legend The Iron Sheik, whose lewd, racist, homophobic, and sexist tweets have raised eyebrows in recent years.
The Iron Sheik, whose real name is Khosrow Vaziri, met with Chow at a Toronto sandwich shop on Saturday, hours before the premiere of a documentary on his journey from Iran to the heights of pro wrestling.
The 72-year-old had apparently invited Rob Ford to meet up but Chow, arguably the Toronto mayor's top challenger this October, showed up instead.
Chow posed with The Sheik's golden wrestling belt and even won an endorsement from the WWE Hall of Famer.
"God bless her, and I want all the people in Toronto to vote for Olivia Chow to become the mayor of Toronto," he said, according to The Toronto Sun.
But The Sheik, who boasts 420,000 followers on Twitter, isn't exactly the type of person most would associate with the former NDP member of Parliament.
In fact, it is possible he is now better known for his bizarre outbursts on Twitter than his career in the squared circle.
A quick look at The Sheik's Twitter profile reveals many, many, many crass comments and slurs, often directed at female celebrities.
For context, we have embedded some below but be warned, there is some extremely offensive language.
I am proud to be from Iran, but more proud to be in usa. Hulk hogan, you gay no god cocksucker son of a bitch. Fuck you— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) October 8, 2009
hello @Paula_Deen you have midget pig dick and dead dog tits I hope I see you I break your fucking fat neck bitch— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) February 27, 2014
Nancy Grace YOU FAT DUMB BITCH I beat the fuck out of you talk bad about my wrestling brother. GO FUCK YOURSELF YOU DEAD DOG WHORE— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) April 10, 2014
You get the idea.
The National Post's Matt Gurney wrote Monday that it was odd, "to say the least," that a "progressive darling" like Chow would associate with a former wrestler who, Gurney writes, is either insane or engaged in "one gigantic, vulgar bit of performance art taken to the extreme."
Gurney also suggested Chow was getting a free pass from criticism.
"If this was Mr. Ford, people would be slamming him, demanding to know how he can associate with someone like The Iron Sheik," he wrote.
This is the second time Ford has avoided meeting The Sheik. The wrestler showed up at Toronto city hall in November to challenge the mayor, then embroiled in the crack video scandal, to a fight.
But Chow took responsibility and apologized Monday afternoon.
I met the Iron Sheik around his film. I do not condone his hurtful & unacceptable comments. I should have read them and didn’t. I apologize.— Olivia Chow (@oliviachow) April 28, 2014
Her communications director, Jamey Heath, told The Toronto Sun that the meet-up was spontaneous and suggested the campaign should have done a better job vetting The Sheik.
"Let's be honest, she is not a supporter of rape. She has no record of anti-gay activities and marched in her first Pride parade in the 1980s. Olivia does not endorse racism – and for those reasons, sent out a tweet that clearly said that she had not read those, she should've read them and she apologized," he said.
Many online commended Chow for owning up to her apparent gaffe.
Toronto voters head to the polls on Oct. 27.
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Toronto City Councillor Olivia Chow (centre) has her hair painted various colours by a professional body painter and people hired to promote the event with their bodies covered in paint at the corner of Bay and King St. Chow agreed to have here hair painted for charity which was sponsored by Xerox Canada in an effort to raise awareness about the benefits of using colour in the workplace. Photo by Louie Palu/The Globe and Mail March 30, 2005
MAY 26, 1991 -- Toronto city councillor Jack Layton with his wife Olivia Chow. Photo by Erik Christensen / The Globe and Mail. Originally published Sept. 28, 1991
Federal NDP leader Jack Layton and his wife Olivia Chow react to supporters in Toronto on Wednesday, May 26, 2004. at Chow's nomination meeting in the riding of Trinity-Spadina. (CP PHOTO/Andrew Vaughan)
Federal NDP leader Jack Layton kisses his wife Olivia Chow as they meet up in Toronto on Wednesday, May 26, 2004. Chow is running for the NDP in the Toronto riding of Trinity-Spadina. (CP PHOTO/Andrew Vaughan)
Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton embraces his wife Olivia Chow at his nomination meeting in the riding of Toronto-Danforth in Toronto on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2005. Chow's nomination meeting, in the riding of Trinity-Spadina, is on Wednesday. The federal election will be held on Jan. 23, 2006.(CP PHOTO/Andrew Vaughan)
NDP Leader Jack Layton and his wife Olivia Chow ride through Chow's riding as the make their way to her campaign headquarters in Toronto Tuesday, December 20, 2005. They made three campaign stops on a city bus after Layton made an announcement about city transit.(CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)
NDP Trinity-Spadina candidate Olivia Chow celebrates her win in Toronto Monday, Jan. 23, 2006. (CP PHOTO/Aaron Harris)
NDP Leader Jack Layton and his wife Olivia Chow, NDP candidate in Trinity-Spadina, escort her mother Ho Sze Chow to the polling station to vote in the federal election in Toronto on Monday, Jan. 23, 2006. (CP PHOTO/Andrew Vaughan)
NDP MP Olivia Chow (Trinity Spadina) holds a press conference in Ottawa, Wednesday April 12 to highlight flaws in the Conservative government’s childcare promise to Canadians. Using a stack of $5 bills, Chow illustrates the net value of the $1200 Allowance at different income levels, based on taxes and benefits applicable in Ontario. (CP PHOTO/Fred Chartrand)
New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, holding onto his bible and a long eagle feather, and his wife Olivia Chow share a moment before being sworn-in as Members of Parliament at a ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Monday Feb. 13, 2006. (CP PHOTO/Tom Hanson)
NDP leader Jack Layton, right, receives a flower from his wife Olivia Chow before speaking on Much Music during a campaign stop on Monday, Oct. 13, 2008 in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
NDP MP Olivia Chow rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Tuesday June 9, 2009. Adrian Wyld/TCPI/The Canadian Press
NDP MP Olivia Chow shows a creation by the designer Peach Beserk during Dare to Wear Show which closed Toronto Fashion Week on Friday October 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
NDP Leader Jack Layton and his wife Olivia Chow wave as they walk the Via Dolorosa procession as part of Good Friday celebrations Friday, April 22, 2011 in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton and wife Olivia Chow and granddaughter Beatrice watch election results prior to their parties election event in Toronto, Ont., on Monday, May 2, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
New Democratic Party MP Olivia Chow celebrates her re-election as she talks to supporters at the NDP election event in Toronto, Ont., on Monday, May 2, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton and NDP MP Olivia Chow receive the keys as they arrive to Storonoway, the house of the leader of the opposition in Ottawa, on Wednesday, June 15, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP Leader Jack Layton and wife Olivia Chow, MP participate at the 31st Annual Pride Parade in Toronto on July 3, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Dominic Chan
Olivia Chow stands by the casket of her late husband, NDP leader Jack Layton, as his body lies in state at Parlament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, August 24, 2011 in Ottawa.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Olivia Chow, wife of NDP Leader Jack Layton, along with stepdaughter Sarah Layton and stepson Mike Layton (left to right) acknowledge members of the public as they wait in line to pay their respects to her husband in Ottawa, Wednesday, August 24, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Olivia Chow, wife of the late NDP leader Jack Layton, looks at a photo at Toronto City Hall on Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. Layton's body is lying in repose pending Saturday's state funeral. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
MP Olivia Chow holds up a pair of eagle feathers her late husband Jack Layton use to have on his desk before handing them to NDP interim Leader Nycole Turmel, on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at a pre-session caucus in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
NDP Leadership Convention at the National Trade Centre-Exhibition Place. After delivering the New Leader's Address, newly elected Federal NDP Leader, Jack Layton hugs his wife, Olivia Chow. Pictures taken on Jan.26/03 Photo by Tibor Kolley
Olivia Chow speaks during a tribute to her late husband and NDP leader Jack Layton, who passed away last year, during the NDP leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, March 23, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit
NDP MP Olivia Chow takes part in the Grand Parade at the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival in Toronto on Saturday, August 4, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Olivia Chow widow of former NDP leader Jack Layton talk at the newly opened Jack Layton park in the town of Hudson, Que., Saturday, June 23, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Olivia Chow (left) hugs Michael Layton, the son of late husband Jack Layton as crowds gather to mark the one year anniversary of the former NDP Federal Leader's passing in Toronto on Wednesday August 22, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow talks about Ramsay Hunt syndrome type 2 that afflicts the left side of her face, at her office in Toronto on Friday, January 4, 2013. The temporary disorder of the nerves controls the movement of muscles in the face. THE CANADIAN PRESS - Matthew Sherwood
Olivia Chow pauses before chatting with a television crew at a reception for the made-for-television movie "Jack," about late New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton in Toronto on Monday March 4, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Olivia Chow is seen with a newly unveiled statue of her late husband Jack Layton in Toronto, Ontario Thursday, August 22, 2013. (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)
Olivia Chow reads an extract of her autobiography "My Journey" at a book launch in Toronto on Wednesday January 22 , 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young