Mississauga mayor files hate-crime complaint after inflammatory article

Valid complaint (the website subsequently took down the offending post):

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie says she has filed a hate-crime complaint with Peel police after a local website published an article claiming the mayor is trying to convert the city to Islam so “they can kill her son just for being gay.”

The article, published by the Mississauga Gazette on Friday, also claims that Crombie “won’t rest until all girls in Mississauga are victims of rich rapists,” describing the actions of Muslim boys in Mississauga high schools, claiming they routinely assault girls.

“Racism and flat-out lies have no place in Mississauga,” Crombie said Saturday.

“I was very disturbed. I have sent the article to Peel police . . . To paint any group like this, based on religion or ethnicity or anything, is reprehensible.”

Crombie said she has also contacted her own lawyer to address what she believes is a libel against her. The article’s listed author is Acton Michaels, identified as the Gazette’s editor in chief. He did not respond to the Star.

A man who confirmed to the Star that he’s the webmaster and co-owner of the Gazette said that though he might have posted the article, he is not responsible for it. “I’m responsible for the stuff I write . . . everybody else, I just put the content up,” said Kevin Johnston.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t entirely read the article, I just knew it was about young ladies being pestered by Muslim boys at a high school.”

Johnston said his recollection is that he launched the publication in 2014. According to the website, which features numerous ads promoting restaurants, sports leagues, developers and at least one of Canada’s major banks, the Mississauga Gazette has 13 people working for it including Johnston and Michaels.

 Asked if he will remove the article from the website, Johnston said, “If I’m instructed by a court of law with my name on the court order to remove something, I certainly would.” He also said it will be removed if one of the website’s investors or co-owners asked him to do so.

Asked if it would be removed for any possible legal issue, he responded: “Would I do it because you’re suggesting that some article . . . that was placed on a website should come down because . . . Bonnie thinks it should? No, I wouldn’t do that.”

Last year Crombie publicly criticized Johnston during a council meeting after he spread literature denigrating the Muslim community while advocating against the construction of a proposed new mosque. Crombie, city staff and all but one councillor supported the mosque’s construction, which was approved.

After the Gazette article’s publication, Johnston said, the Muslim community is “the only community that (Crombie is) doing anything for. I mean, come on, we have Islamic Heritage Month now in Ontario for the entire month of October. I take issue with that.”

Since being elected in 2014, Crombie has helped organize an effort to raise $5 million to settle Syrian refugees, championed the new mosque’s construction and last month led a push for a city-wide parking exemption to accommodate celebrations for Eid al-Adha, a significant Islamic holy day.

The article published Friday includes the headline, “Bonnie’s Muslims Are Molesting Teenage Girls in Mississauga Highschools.” It claims that Michaels was told by the father of a Grade 10 student at Rick Hansen Secondary School that she has been routinely assaulted by Muslim boys there. The article claims that the school has refused to comment and that such incidents involving Muslim boys are common in Mississauga high schools.

Source: Mississauga mayor files hate-crime complaint after inflammatory article | Toronto Star