I have written about Rob Ford before, discussing with compassion how unhealthy I believe he is in a variety of ways—what it must be like to be his wife and children, how enabled he’s surely been to have developed into this kind of person who appears to be totally incapable of seeing himself clearly.
Although I admit I was curious about what would transpire when he and Jimmy Kimmel met face-to-face in front of the hot lights and unforgiving cameras of TV land, I can’t say that I was exactly looking forward to watching what became nothing less than a horrific gong show when Rob Ford was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday night. But I can say that I never expected to see what I witnessed going on between them.
Why Rob Ford chooses to put himself in situations like this is something I’ll never understand. By making decisions like that, he is practically begging to be abused and ridiculed—and to that end, Jimmy Kimmel delivered, in spades. I was appalled at the utter glee with which Kimmel put Ford down, blow after blow after blow in the space of about 20 minutes or so. And how did Ford react? Exactly as he always has, in that sheepish 5-year-old-little-boy-behaving-badly way that he must think somehow endears him to the public at large.
That kind of immature conduct does not endear him to me at all. Not even close. In my opinion, it always makes him look ridiculous.
By now, we all understand that Rob Ford is a sick man, in any number of ways. His various addictive behaviours, from food to alcohol to lying and yes, perhaps to crack, appear to not even begin to crumble the façade of a man who desperately needs help with some pretty clear physical and mental health issues. His arrogance and entitlement only make him seem even more reckless, especially in light of the fact that he is—as he reminds us constantly—a paid public servant.
He truly has become a joke over these past months. Not very many of us are laughing anymore as we observe this man’s self-respect disintegrate time and time again before our eyes. Is there any hope at all that he might someday choose to do some inner work and become healthier? It’s anyone’s guess at this point. I do hope he doesn’t keel over and die first.
So when Kimmel invited Ford to appear as a guest on his talk show, sharing the bill with Gonzo from Sesame Street, most of us knew that nothing good was going to come of this. But what actually transpired was, in my view, unbelievably awful—more so than I could have imagined.
And Jimmy Kimmel should be ashamed of himself.
In this day of anti-bullying campaigns, when we are wearing pink tee shirts and working so very hard to teach kids (and some adults too) that bullying is never okay, Kimmel virtually salivated at each opportunity to knock Ford down yet another few pegs. He asked him nothing but embarrassing questions and showed the same humiliating footage that the world has already seen many times over. Although Ford should have seen this coming, doing his best to prevent himself from going through this yet again—such as not appearing on the show in the first place, perhaps?—he didn’t seem to be all that uncomfortable or distressed by it, which speaks to his lack of emotionally healthy balance.
And Kimmel was relentless. If they had been in a boxing ring together, it would probably have been a cleaner fight. For him to have picked on someone as clearly dysfunctional as Ford, in such nasty and brutal ways, over and over again during their segment, is to me nothing short of extreme, ruthless bullying.
What kind of message does this send? Can Kimmel possibly see himself as any kind of positive role model in the world of ‘entertainment’—or any other arena, for that matter?
We’ve all known for a while how stubbornly unwilling Rob Ford has been to take responsibility for his own creepy, awkward antics, both public and private. We are used to this by now and most of us understand that only a person who is emotionally and mentally compromised behaves like this.
But Jimmy Kimmel—a comedian whose job it is to make people laugh and forget their troubles for an hour? Who knew what an offensive, repugnant tyrant he could be?
Someone needs to send him big box of pink tee shirts.