TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford decided against hosting his weekly radio show this weekend after explosive allegations that he was recorded on a video appearing to smoke crack cocaine.
CFRB program director Mike Bendixen has tweeted that Ford and his brother Doug, a city councillor, won’t be behind the microphones this Sunday for their two-hour talk show “The City” on the Toronto station.
Bendixen says the Ford brothers told the station on Friday the show would not go ahead as scheduled, but expected it would be back on the air next weekend.
Rob Ford has slammed a Toronto Star report on the video as a smear job and called it “ridiculous.”
The Toronto Star and the U.S.-based website Gawker.com reported the story Thursday night. Two reporters from the Star and the editor of Gawker said they viewed the cellphone video and said it appears to show Ford smoking crack.
The media outlets reported the video was shown to them by an alleged drug dealer who has been reportedly trying to sell the video for at least $100,000.
Gawker is trying to raise $200,000 from the public, which it says it needs in order to buy the video to post on the gossip-news site. By Saturday afternoon it had raised more than $52,000 toward its goal.
In its report, the Star said two of its reporters had watched the video on May 3 that it said showed an intoxicated Ford in a room, sitting in a chair, and lighting and smoking from what appeared to be a glass crack pipe.
The publications reported Ford could be heard making crude remarks about Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and the high school football team the mayor coaches.
The Star has stood by its story and rejected any suggestions the paper was out to get the mayor.
Another member of council, Josh Matlow, said although the fact the mayor cancelled his radio show is not that important, he must give a more full explanation than he has so far.
”The reality is this is an international uproar and it has hurt Toronto’s reputation,” Matlow said in a phone interview.
”We need to hear the mayor’s response, he should offer more than a one word answer.”
Regardless of whether there is a video of Ford and whether it ever surfaces, the mayor would be unwise to remain silent on the matter, Matlow suggested.
”If he chooses not to then I think speculation will only increase and the harm to our city’s reputation internationally will get worse.”
Vancouver radio station CKNW reported on its website that the mayor’s brother was planning to respond to the allegations on Tuesday.
Doug Ford was quoted by the radio station saying he had “never seen my brother around crack cocaine – ever, in my entire life.”
Rob Ford’s lawyer Dennis Morris has called the media reports “false and defamatory.” Morris also told the newspaper it was impossible to tell what a person was smoking by watching the video.
Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said Friday investigators were “monitoring the situation closely.”
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version wrongly said there was a report that the mayor was to respond to the allegations on Tuesday. In fact it’s the mayor’s brother