Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been criticized in the past for his indelicate behavior, and now, he’s facing questions about whether or not he smoked crack, after reporters at Gawker and the Toronto Star insist that they’ve seen video proof. According to a report from the Star:
[The video] appears to show Ford in a room, sitting in a chair, wearing a white shirt, top buttons open, inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe. Ford is incoherent, trading jibes with an off-camera speaker who goads the clearly impaired mayor by raising topics including Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and the Don Bosco high school football team Ford coaches.
The conservative mayor dismissed the allegations, deeming them “ridiculous” and “absolutely not true.” He declined to comment further.
So far, there’s been no way to verify the authenticity of the video. Gawker editor John Cook reports that the owners of the footage are requesting $200,000 for it, and so, naturally, Gawker is crowdfunding in an effort to purchase it. By Saturday morning, the Rob Ford Crackstarter (yup) had raised around $50,000 from more than 1,900 funders. Cook explains the publication’s methodology:
We are mindful that people who hang out with and surreptitiously record crack-smoking mayors may not always be reliable. The people we’ve been dealing with have so far honored every commitment they’ve made. And they have pledged to sell it to us for $200,000 if this Crackstarter works. But if they disappear, or sell it elsewhere, we will donate every penny we receive to a Canadian non-profit that helps people suffering from addiction and its consequences.
Although this is certainly the most serious allegation made against the mayor yet, this clearly isn’t the first controversy he’s sparked. The Star rounded up 42 remarkable moments from his career, and the list includes plenty of misguided and otherwise befuddling statements Ford has made over the years. And for the unacquainted, Gawker’s got a less comprehensive introduction to all things Rob Ford.
So now what? We’ll add this burgeoning scandal to the impressively long list of Rob Ford fracases, and wait to see if Gawker purchases and publishes the video. Depending on how it plays out, we may be well on our way to a Rob Ford reality show.