A handful of individuals are seeking donations to crowdsource money they say will be used to purchase a copy of a video that allegedly appears to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine, as reported by both the Toronto Star and Gawker.
The published reports say reporters at both media outlets viewed the video, which was taken by men who were said to be connected to the Toronto drug trade. The owners of the video tried to sell it to the media outlets for $100,000, say the reports.
While neither Gawker nor the Toronto Star paid the money, several citizens have taken it upon themselves to raise the funds needed to, potentially, make the video available to the public.
At the site Indiegogo, a post asks for $100,000 and reads: “In case you haven’t heard, there is allegedly a video out there of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. Let’s all chip in and buy the Rob Ford video!” At the time of writing, nine donors had given a total of $698. It says that if the $100,000 goal is not reached, it will donate the cash to CAMH, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.
A second Indiegogo campaign is asking for $100,000 and it also says it will donate any funds raised to CAMH, should it come short of its goal. That one had 89 funders and a total of $1,356 at the time of writing.
Another Indiegogo campaign, organized by The Province newspaper in Vancouver, said it would do the same with $100,000, minus the donation to CAMH. The Province says it will return any funds, should it come up short.
Of course, there is no guarantee that those fundraising will be able to track down the individuals with the alleged video, even if they do meet their goals. Though, Gawker reporter John Cook writes near the end of his story: “If you want to buy it, let me know. I can put you in touch with a guy.”
So far, Ford has not addressed media about the allegations, apart from uttering the word “ridiculous” while getting into his car outside his suburban Toronto home Friday morning.
Ford has, however, entered his office at Toronto City Hall, where dozens of reporters are camped outside, waiting for a statement from the mayor.