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The Toronto Star offers its take on the Ford crack tape

Posted by Chris Bateman / May 16, 2013

toronto rob fordJust hours after New York-based news site Gawker published a sensational story alleging its editor had seen video of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine, the Toronto Star is telling its own version of how its reporters came to view what appears to be the same astonishing tape.

The video in question is described by both publications as having been recorded in a well-lit room some time in the last six months. The narratives generally match: Rob Ford is seen, incoherent, warming a glass pipe with a cigarette lighter and briefly speaking to those around him. He calls the Don Bosco football team he coaches "fucking minorities," Liberal leader Justin Trudeau a "fag," then "inhales deeply."

Star journalists Robyn Doolittle and Kevin Donovan say they met with a group of Somali men who are trying to find a buyer for the tape filmed some time in the last six months. The reporters saw the video three times in the parking lot of a Dixon Rd. high rise complex on May 3.

"In a video clip less than two-minutes long, an incoherent and rambling Mayor Rob Ford can clearly be seen smoking what appears to be crack cocaine," they write in the story's most damning passage.

The paper was contacted in the wake of accusations made by former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson related to a gala event the mayor attended in March where he appeared to be intoxicated, it says.

Where Ford goes from here is anyone's guess. Though no-one seems to have paid for the video - The Star denies it handed over any money in exchange for the viewing - it has been lent credence by two reputable news sources.

So far the tape remains in the hands of its owners and it appears no-one except for Gawker and the Toronto Star has seen it.

Ford's staff have refused to speak on the matter, the mayor himself has been silent, but a lawyer acting on Ford's behalf had disputed the contents of the tape. "How can you indicate what the person is actually doing or smoking?," Dennis Morris asked the paper.

We're all wondering the same thing.

UPDATE: 08:38

Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday is the first person close to the mayor to go on the record about the alleged drug video. He says he hasn't spoken to Rob Ford this morning and urges the public to proceed with caution, referring to a video released recently that purported to show a bird snatching a child that turned out to be fake. "They're just allegations until they are proven," he says.

UPDATE: 10:30

Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington says Rob Ford's office will release a statement later this morning regarding the allegations. Earlier today Ford was spotted leaving his Etobicoke home for City Hall. Watch this space.

UPDATE: 11:02

Rob Ford has arrived at City Hall to a throng of reporters over an hour after leaving his Etobicoke home. He said "wow, this is ridiculous" as he entered his office. Still no word on that statement or how it will be delivered.

UPDATE: 12:25

Rob Ford left his office to make the following brief statement:

"It's like I said this morning, these allegations are ridiculous. It's another story with respect to the Toronto Star going after me. And that's all, that's all I've got to say."

He's now reading the official proclamation at the PFLAG flag raising, flanked by reporters.

UPDATE: 13:13

Satirical Taiwanese news company Next Media Animation has given the Rob Ford scandal the (completely bonkers) digital cartoon treatment. Their version of events shows the Toronto mayor falling onto school children, running over cyclists and, yes, smoking from a glass pipe. The site is famous for its off the wall videos circulated in the immediate aftermath of major news stories.

UPDATE: 14:20

Rob Ford has left City Hall for the day. Some good news for the embattled mayor: the city has found he wasn't in breach a bylaw when he stuck magnets to parked cars during a recent Etobicoke and York Community Council meeting because "he is not in the business of being a bill distributor," reports the Globe and Mail's Sunny Dhillon.

Well, that's something I suppose.

"Have a good weekend, guys," Ford said as he left.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: BruceK/blogTO Flickr pool.



fake / May 17, 2013 at 02:29 am
Ford's staff have refused to speak on the matter, the mayor himself has been silent, but a lawyer acting on Ford's behalf had disputed the contents of the tape. "How can you indicate what the person is actually doing or smoking?," Dennis Morris asked the paper.

not sure what ford could possibly claim to be smoking out of a glass pipe that would be legal... i fear that ford nation will simply call this a smear job and continue to blindly support cars, police budgets, service cuts, privatization and somehow - reduced taxes without recognizing the internal conflict of their ideology.


if democracy isnt broken then the participants are.

rob ford embarrasses us more than himself if possible.
John Labatt / May 17, 2013 at 02:39 am
This is not the only Mayor that was caught smoking crack. Lots of prominent people smoke it.
Joe Fresh / May 17, 2013 at 02:40 am
"How can you indicate what the person is actually doing or smoking?,"
Um, by watching the supposed video?
We understand a lawyers real job is to lie, but common...
If there is a VIDEO of our buffoon of mayor, then, with judgement we can indicate that the person, our mayor is a crack head...
And we all thought Mel Lastman was bad...
Imagine the headlines around the world...
Toronto's Mayor, A CRACKHEAD!
Stan Smith replying to a comment from John Labatt / May 17, 2013 at 02:43 am
Oh okay
Lots of prominent people smoke crack, so its okay by your standards!
Thank you, but no thank you.
I like to take my advice from non-crack heads or their supporters
Bobby Brown / May 17, 2013 at 02:45 am
I vision the day that our mayor is beat the fuck down like Gadaffi was!
Greg / May 17, 2013 at 02:56 am
Why does it matter that they were Somali? The story would have never read, "they met with a group of white dudes."
ron / May 17, 2013 at 03:48 am
This makes him even cooler!! Go Rob Ford!
Franco / May 17, 2013 at 07:31 am
The crack cocaine is one thing but calling individuals 'fags' and 'fucking minorities' demonstrates Ford's lack of character. He is supposed to represent all members of this city, including gay people and those who are disenfranchised. He consistently shows callous disregard for these people. This is not a leader, and he has consistently shown that he is incapable of doing his job, while respecting his colleagues and the people of Toronto. If this is not enough of a case to warrant his resignation, I don't know what else. He habitually lies, and embarrasses the great city of Toronto, and we deserve better.
Michael / May 17, 2013 at 08:02 am
Cmon ppl. Allegedly. Funny how everyone automatically assumes Ford toots the kibble when the Toronto Star and tabloid Gawker say so. Add a photo of Mayor Ford with a few black ppl and he's a full out crackhead junkie. Way to show your ugly side, racist pinkos.
Michael replying to a comment from Franco / May 17, 2013 at 08:03 am
Are you really taking hearsay as fact? I'm scared to have a mayor voted by you.
ROB / May 17, 2013 at 08:32 am
This is complete hearsay on the word of drug dealers, and a gossip website until a legitimate reporter from the CBC, not biased progressives from The Toronto Star investigate this. People have been actively out to get Ford for a while and although I'm far from a fan of his this is par for the course in their lowlife smear tactics. Produce the video and let the public decide.
johnsonstarfish / May 17, 2013 at 08:36 am
Even if he was smoking crack on video, that's not really enough to get him kicked out or charged with anything, correct? The only avenue we have for him leaving office is by stepping down is my guess.
Al replying to a comment from Michael / May 17, 2013 at 08:54 am
We are taking independent verification from several reporters as fact.
Mike replying to a comment from ROB / May 17, 2013 at 08:56 am
I'm curious as to what Gawker, a NYC-based website, has to gain in smearing the mayor of a city in another country?

Why would Gawker be "out to get Rob Ford?"
M replying to a comment from Greg / May 17, 2013 at 09:06 am
Greg I completely agree. Their nationality is completely irrevelant to the story. Shame on our society, with our need to say these things
Mark Morton / May 17, 2013 at 09:29 am
Can the mayor be required to provide a blood or urine sample for a drug test? I assume that other civic employees (like police officers, fire fighters, and TTC staff) can be required to pass a drug test.
Huuk replying to a comment from M / May 17, 2013 at 09:39 am
Its called reporting, where you paint a picture of the facts. Somali is a reference to their nationality, not their race. Its 100% relevant, I for one an very interested who shot this video and want to know as much about them as possible before I shape my opinion of whether this is legit or not.
Erin replying to a comment from Greg / May 17, 2013 at 09:58 am
That bothered me too.
Bobbie McPhee / May 17, 2013 at 10:17 am
A crowdfunding initiative has been started to raise funds to purchase the video and release it to the media. If the funds are not enough to purchase the video or the video is not successfully obtained, the money will be donated to CAMH.

Let's crowdfund the heck out of this!
Smason / May 17, 2013 at 10:31 am
lol @ the Ford apologists already conspiracy theorizing that this is a left-wing ploy by the Star and Gawker. you people are just pathetic. The Star, as much as you hate its pinko journalists, is a reputable paper and does not just conjure things out of thin air. It exposes itself to lawsuits with reporting like this so it covers its bases well. Just admit you can't defend your boy anymore. He's an absolute disgrace and so are you for defending him. Pathetic.
Jer / May 17, 2013 at 10:44 am
You should include the picture of Rob Ford standing/posing with two known drug dealers. Get the story behind that. One of the guys was killed off of King street not long ago.

I thought the other attacks on Rob Ford were over the line without evidence.... But, sounds like the evidence is there. Even if it isn't cocaine why is he hanging out with drug dealers?
Rob replying to a comment from Jer / May 17, 2013 at 10:51 am
The best thing about this is that it FINALLY forces Rob Ford to answer for his actions.

There's a picture of him with drug dealers. He's supposedly a friend of the police. I want to know what's up.
LMS / May 17, 2013 at 10:52 am
There's a simply way for Rob Ford to shut everyone up. He can take a drug test, then share the results with the media. Instead of crowdsourcing the video, we should start a petition to get him to take a drug test.
Rob replying to a comment from LMS / May 17, 2013 at 10:57 am
Not good enough.

Drug tests are easier to fake than a video, especially when you have the means.
Mesonto / May 17, 2013 at 11:08 am
This came from the Toronto Star... yes a very reputable rag of paper, I guess I will have rip it from the bottom of my cat litter box to read it.
M replying to a comment from Huuk / May 17, 2013 at 11:15 am
Why is someone's nationality relevant to your opinion? Why should it make a difference?
DNKY / May 17, 2013 at 11:48 am
The craziest shit is that that 21 year old crack dealer that had this video of the Mayor smoking crack got shot in my neighborhood a couple months ago. Is that a coincidence? Maybe the Mayor made a special phone call and had a 'problem' taken care of as a favor. Wouldn't surprise me. Toronto's embarrassed by this sick dog of a Mayor.

Sheeiitttt can't be at least just do a little blow instead of crack rock???
Rob Ford Smoking Crack / May 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm
I for one would like to congratulate the suburbs on voting for a crack smoking Mayor and defending him so ardently scandal after scandal. It wasn't the good fight but you fought well.
jer replying to a comment from DNKY / May 17, 2013 at 01:08 pm
Yeah, I was waiting for the conspiracy theories to start.... If some of guys involved in this get shot...
mike / May 17, 2013 at 01:14 pm
Did Rob Ford have Anthony Smith murdered?
GFDC replying to a comment from mike / May 17, 2013 at 02:22 pm
Slob Ford probably got the Police to murder Anthony Smith.

I think he definitely did it. Not joking whatsoever.

It's too much of a coincidence.
anthony / May 17, 2013 at 02:35 pm
another right wing loser hypocrite, arent they all?
John Labatt replying to a comment from Stan Smith / May 18, 2013 at 02:53 am
The people of toronto voted him in. A lot of crack heads are voted in all the time in Toronto. 50% of our elected officials are on crack its complety aceptable.
Phil / May 18, 2013 at 07:12 am
Let's just assume for the sake of argument that Rob Ford does not and has not smoked crack. He still needs to explain how he knows Anthony Smith, when/where that picture of the two was taken and why he never mentioned knowing Smith when news of this death came out.

If Rob does indeed smoke crack, and is connected to the murder of smith. Just one thing to say about that.... holyfcukingshit Toronto.
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