Homophobic hate graffiti written outside Ottawa mayor's home

·1 min read
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson at city hall in 2020. On Sunday, police were called to his neighbourhood after homophobic graffiti was discovered on the road outside his home. (Michel Aspirot/CBC - image credit)
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson at city hall in 2020. On Sunday, police were called to his neighbourhood after homophobic graffiti was discovered on the road outside his home. (Michel Aspirot/CBC - image credit)

Ottawa police are investigating homophobic graffiti on the road outside Mayor Jim Watson's home.

In a Sunday afternoon statement, the mayor's press secretary confirmed three words were painted on the road and first noticed by a neighbour.

"The mayor is disappointed that someone would spend any time and effort to attack someone's sexual orientation and deface public property," the statement read.

Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly said late Sunday evening the hate crimes unit is investigating.

The city was also asked to power wash the road.

Watson told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Monday there will always be a very small percentage of people who spread hate, whether it's homophobic or on other grounds such as race.

He said Ottawa is tolerant and welcoming and he's felt comfortable there before and after coming out.

"I've been overwhelmed by people contacting me over the last day or so with very kind comments and very supportive comments," he said. "And that certainly helps get through something like this."

Watson officially came out as a gay man in August 2019, just days before Pride celebrations kicked off in the city, saying it was "the right thing to do," and he wished he had told people sooner.

At the time, he said it was important to finally share it with the city after 40 years of worrying about how his constituents, friends and family would react.

He also mentioned hearing people use homophobic slurs when speaking to him or talking about the Pride celebrations.

Watson, shown riding on the City of Ottawa's float at the 2018 Pride parade, officially came out as a gay man in August 2019.
Watson, shown riding on the City of Ottawa's float at the 2018 Pride parade, officially came out as a gay man in August 2019.(Judy Trinh/CBC)