POLITICS
07/09/2014 12:57 EDT

Rob Ford Stays Seated As WorldPride Organizers Get Standing Ovation

Rob Ford was the sole member of Toronto city council not to give a standing ovation on Wednesday to the staff and organizers who worked on the WorldPride festival.

Though the mayor briefly clapped when organizers of the 10-day festival were lauded, journalists in council chambers snapped photos of him remaining seated while others around him rose to their feet.

Councillor Josh Matlow even took a picture from the floor of council chambers.

The mayor, who recently blamed his substance abuse problems for homophobic (and racist) slurs he has made in the past, did not attend WorldPride this year. He returned from rehab one day after the festivities ended.

Ford has controversially refused to march in Pride parades since becoming mayor in 2010, but did attend a flag-raising event last summer (where he looked less than comfortable).

Ford previously maintained he couldn't attend the Pride parade because it conflicted with an annual trip to his family's cottage, yet admitted in a debate in February that he actually chooses not to participate.

When asked point blank if he would attend WorldPride this year, Ford was unequivocal.

"I'm not going to go to the Pride parade," he said. "I've never gone to a Pride parade. So I'm not going to change the way I am."

Ford also sparked controversy after he took exception to a rainbow flag raised at City Hall in support of gay athletes competing in the Sochi Olympics. Russia passed several heinous anti-gay laws last year.

"This is about the Olympics, this is about being patriotic to your country," he said. "This is not about somebody's sexual preference."

The visuals from Wednesday morning are unlikely to help Ford shake accusations that he is homophobic.

On Wednesday morning, Ford also refused Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam’s request to release his "hold" — a tactic forcing a council item to be debated rather than passed without a vote — on a report urging staff to study allocating 25 per cent of shelter beds in a youth shelter to LGBT youth, The Toronto Sun reports.

Ford later ignored reporters' questions about why he stayed in his seat, but said he is not homophobic.

Many took to Twitter to express their disappointment with the mayor.

Twitter On RoFo Sitting Out World Pride Ovation

With previous files