Toronto alt weekly NOW accompanied a story about Mayor Rob Ford's "naked ambition" with nearly-nude photo illustrations of the politician. (Ford's opponents Other politicians are portrayed as nearly-nude bodybuilders.) The morning the issue came out, the Toronto Star reports, the mayor's office launched a campaign to "remove and dispose":

The issue hit newsstands Thursday morning. The email was sent at around 9 a.m. by Lorraine Pickett, custodial supervisor at City Hall, to the City Hall security desk and to custodial managers at other city facilities. It read: "Hi All, I have a request from the mayor's office to remove all NOW newspapers from all City of Toronto locations/facilities ASAP. Please remove and dispose."

The directive was "reversed" later in the day, said east district supervisor Rex Bussey, and Ford spokesperson Adrienne Batra attributed Pickett's email to a "misunderstanding."

Batra, speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon, said a member of the mayor's staff, whom she would not identify, was "very troubled" by the images and independently decided to phone the facilities department to "find out what the policy is to have magazines and newspapers within city facilities."

Good job, Office of the Mayor: You just turned a mildly embarrassing local event into an international story about freedom of the press, thereby giving bloggers worldwide an excuse to republish the pictures that so offended you. "As far as I've heard, there's still such a thing as freedom of expression in Ford Nation," said the editor of NOW, who has been checking his Google alerts and doing a happy dance all day. That's what I'd be doing, at least. [NOW, Toronto Star, images via]