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Mayor John Tory calls Kanye West a ‘proud product’ of Toronto’s music industry

TORONTO – During a press conference Wednesday Mayor John Tory mistakenly referred to rapper Kanye West as a “proud product” of Toronto’s music industry.

Tory was speaking with reporters shortly after it was confirmed that the American hip-hop superstar will be headlining the closing ceremony at the Pan Am Games, which will also feature Canadian musician Serena Ryder and Miami-based rapper Pitbull.

Pan Am Games: Canada eclipses gold-medal count from 2011 in just five days

When asked if he was a fan of West’s music the mayor made the small gaffe.

“I won’t say that I spend every single night at home listening to his music,” Tory said. “But you know what, I’m smart enough to know that a lot of people do and I’m smart enough to know that he’s a proud product of our music industry here, as are a number of others.”

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Tory, who was speaking about Toronto Community Housing, later conceded to the error in a scrum with reporters.

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“I also wish I’d known he wasn’t a Canadian but I didn’t. That’s fine. You can’t know everything,” he said.

READ MORE: Canada’s Ellie Black wins 4th Pan Am medal, this time gold in balance beam

Shortly after West was announced as the headline performer at the July 26 event at Rogers Centre a petition was launched to protest the decision by Pan Am organizers

More than 3,700 people have signed the petition titled “Don’t have Kanye West perform the closing ceremony for the Toronto Pan American Games” as of Wednesday evening.

Allen Simans, author of the change.org petition, asked the organizing committee to choose from the many options of local artists.

“The options for Toronto artists are far from limited and choosing someone like Kanye West raises several concerns among the people,” Simans wrote. “Why was a local artist or group not chosen and supported, just as our local athletes are throughout the games?”

The closing ceremony will conclude with the handing of a baton to representatives from the host city of the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru. The Pan Am flame will also be extinguished at the base of the CN Tower.

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*With a file from the Canadian Press

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