Comments made by Humber River—Black Creek candidate Giorgio Mammoliti online are being called racist, outlandish and unacceptable.
On Thursday morning, Mammoliti’s official Facebook account posted on the page for Tiffany Ford, who is challenging him in the upcoming election.
Ford, a Black woman who is the current Toronto District School Board trustee for the area, wrote on Wednesday that Mammoliti had refused to apologize at a debate for earlier referring to some living in Toronto Community Housing as “cockroaches.”
Several commenters posted in support saying it was time for a change of leadership. One wrote: “The angry white men have to go!”
In response, Mammoliti added a comment to the thread: “Most of you respondents need to wake up to whats happening to you. On one hand you talk about white men being angry and on the other you just name call yourselves. Who is angry?? At least I have a plan to take you out of segregation, a white man does. Your black candidates don’t speak of how they will do that. They will just keep you bottled up in a poverty, segregated world with no hope. Wake up!!!!!”
Reached by phone Thursday, Mammoliti confirmed it was him who posted the comments.
“Instead of attacking a person who wants to stop segregation and instead of attacking the person in this campaign who wants to help the poor at Jane and Finch, perhaps the other candidates should have in their platform a mechanism to stop segregation instead of just giving out welfare cheques,” Mammoliti said.
Asked if he could respond to the ways in which his comments are offensive to those in the community, he refused to comment further.
“He didn’t apologize, obviously,” Ford told the Star. “His response to all of that is just disgusting. It’s really outlandish and gross.”
But she said it’s “motivation to move forward to win this race. It’s so important because we can have this kind of representation at all.”
In August, Mammoliti was accused of dehumanizing residents in a video posted on the ultra-conservative website Rebel Media where he said “one per cent” of the population in Toronto Community Housing he says are criminals are a “big problem to not only the residents in (TCH) but the much larger communities.”
“I see it like spraying down a building full of cockroaches. The cockroaches are just going to scatter. So start evicting them. They’re just going to scatter.”
In a later post, he posed in front of a home in a TCH complex with a sledgehammer with the message: “Saving our community begins with knocking down social housing.”
Besides Ford, Mammoliti is facing a number of other candidates including Anthony Perruzza, a fellow incumbent councillor.
“I think people are over it,” Ford said of Mammoliti’s time in office.
Jennifer Pagliaro is a Toronto-based reporter covering city politics. Follow her on Twitter: @jpags