A mayoral candidate and sitting councillor in Metro Vancouver has taken to social media to explain a profanity-laden 2014 video in which he asks a homeless man to chug a beer with him in exchange for a sandwich.
Port Moody Coun. Rob Vagramov says in a recent video posted to Facebook that he was “fresh out of college” and his heart was in the right place when he made the earlier video, which he describes as “super cringey” to watch now.
The 28-year-old says he would buy a homeless man lunch again but asking him to chug a beer first was “probably not the best idea considering substance abuse issues,” and he wouldn’t do that today.
Vagramov, who was elected to council in 2014 and is now running to be mayor against incumbent Mayor Bill Clay, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Canadian Press.
In the 2014 video, Vagramov says he was nominated by another social media user to do a “random acts of kindness” challenge and he had hoped it would involve getting drunk.
He asks a homeless man sitting on the street whether he’s hungry, and when the man replies that he is, Vagramov says there’s one condition and asks if the man knows how to “shotgun” a beer.
“Oh, hell yeah,” the man replies.
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Vagramov asks the man’s name and shakes his hand before the pair each “shotgun” a beer, referring to piercing a hole in the side of a can and drinking its entire contents without stopping.
He then hands the sandwich to the man, who is smiling and laughing.
Vagramov finishes the video by urging viewers to perform their own “random acts of kindness.”
In the recent clip posted to Facebook, Vagramov speaks with a registered psychiatric nurse and homeless advocate about changing perspectives on homelessness. He notes that he sits on a homelessness task group representing Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.
He explained that when he was nominated for the kindness challenge, he had wanted to be nominated for a “chugging a beer” challenge that was also going around at the time, so he thought he’d combine the two.
While his perspective has changed in the past several years, his propensity for foul language hasn’t, Vagramov added.
“I still swear like a sailor with my friends.”
The Canadian Press