Toronto Mayor Rob Ford calls drug video allegations ‘ridiculous’

Toronto police ‘monitoring the situation closely,’ spokesman says


Chris Young/CP

TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, whose tenure has been plagued by controversy and embarrassment, found himself embroiled in a new scandal Friday amid two independent reports he was caught on video appearing to smoke crack cocaine.

Leaving his home and again at city hall, Ford refused to answer any questions, but was quick to dismiss one of the reports as yet another smear job, although neither he nor his lawyer called the video fake.

“These allegations are ridiculous,” Ford said.

“It’s another story with respect to the Toronto Star going after me and that’s all.”

In an online account late Thursday, John Cook of the U.S.-based website Gawker.com said he had seen a cellphone video taken by a drug dealer that purportedly showed Ford smoking crack.

Both Gawker and the Toronto Star offered separate but similar accounts of the dealer shopping the video around for at least $100,000.

Both publications said they had declined to buy it, but both said the dealer — reached through an intermediary — had shown it to them.

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 he coaches.

The Star said it stood by its story and spokesman Bob Hepburn rejected any suggestions the paper was out to get the mayor.

“We’ve researched it extensively over the last few weeks since we saw the purported video and this is legitimate news coverage,” Hepburn said.

“The mayor has suggested that we’re out to get him over time, but the coverage we have done since he became mayor has been responsible, has been legitimate coverage of him.”

Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said Friday investigators were “monitoring the situation closely.”

Ford’s lawyer Dennis Morris called the reports “false and defamatory.” But Morris also told the newspaper it was impossible to tell what a person was smoking by watching the video.

Word of the seedy allegations quickly spread through social media, setting off a frenzied debate on Twitter that saw many American pundits compare Ford to Marion Barry, the convicted crack-smoking former mayor of Washington, D.C.

“Unless he was entrapped by the government, it’s not similar,” Barry told the Washington City Paper.

Many commentors seemed amused by the latest scandal to plague the mayor, which came only months after he was accused of being either drunk or high at an official function and groping a female councillor — allegations he vehemently denied.

Others were skeptical, with deputy mayor Doug Holyday saying a “video can be altered” and “drug dealers can’t be trusted.”

Not everyone is likely to share Holyday’s faith in the city’s leader, said Penny Collenette, a law and ethics expert at the University of Ottawa, who noted Ford may face increasing pressure from council and the public to resign.

The mayor is innocent until proven guilty — and as such, can’t be forced to step down, she said, pointing to the cases of London, Ont., Mayor Joe Fontana and former Ottawa mayor Larry O’Brien.

Fontana has refused to give up his seat despite being charged with fraud, while O’Brien continued to work while on trial on influence peddling charges, of which he was eventually cleared.

Ford is not facing any charges, but still, Collenette said, if the cloud of controversy that has dogged him derails proceedings at city hall, that may be enough to warrant his resignation.

“Just how many times can Toronto go through this with this particular mayor?” Collenette said.

“Can the city efficiently run with yet another distraction of this type? And what does this say about the city’s brand?”

Among other problems Ford has faced, earlier this year, he narrowly survived as mayor after a court ruled he should be ousted from office for conflict of interest, a decision overturned on appeal on a technicality.

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford calls drug video allegations ‘ridiculous’

  1. Mayor Ford, Prime Minister Harper, Senate Duffy; why are the nasty thin thugs in the MSM going after these three fine men. Could it be that their ability to bring not just gravitas but also gravity to any room has evoked that much envy?

    • You’re mean.

      But you make me laugh.

  2. So, let me understand. Somebody watched a video, of somebody else, doing something that isn’t so clear, no copies are available.

    Conclusion: Ford is a druggie.

    That’s some might fine reporting you got going on there Macleans!!

    Pssss. I’ve got a video showing rob ford getting into an alien ship and blasting laser beams at liberals sitting beside rivers of chocolate – want to see…..?

    • Read the articles at The Star and Gawker before dismissing the account. They are descriptive and cautious at the same time. Gawker might jump on something flimsy without total confidence of what their reporter saw, but there’s no way The Star would. Not something this big, that could lead to a massive lawsuit if they are wrong about the content. The Gawker also only published the account after some idiot working for CNN tipped off the mayor’s office about the video’s existence. The Gawker was going to sit on the story until they found a partner with deeper pockets to help them buy the video (which is how CNN found out about it).

      • Get the video, be clear it’s ford, then you got a story.

        Til then its BS and definitely not journalism!

        • of someone possibly smoking something in a 3-globe glass pipe.

          • Yes, but then again – I am surprised that the left even considers this a story. After all, we are continuously fed the line that a little weed is good for the mind and only helps relax a little.

            So, what if a conservative finally takes them up on that and puffs a little- is that a sin or is it conversion?

          • Cannabis is hardly comparable to crack. Cannabis is less harmful than alcohol and less addictive than caffeine.

          • Really, you can tell its crack from the video? Oh wait, no-one has seen the video, so it may as well be horse-@#$3 that he is smoking.

          • If you can’t see the difference between marijuana and crack, it’s you who’s been smoking something.

          • If you can’t tell the difference between a fairytale and reality then you don’t need to smoke anything, you’re already there.

            Get the video, confirm its fords, confirm its drugs, then you’ve got a story.

            Tell then, this is nothing more than typical leftist hatred and hypocrisy.

            It’s not like I am a ford supporter, I ain’t from Toronto and couldn’t care if the city fell into a hole. However, I do know BS when I hear it and this is it.

      • you might want to research past lawsuits

        • The Star was pretty clear. They described the offer, and what they saw. They said there was no way to be sure it was the mayor, or what was in the pipe. They held back and kept investigating for three weeks until someone else broke the story – and then reported only what was offered to them. The Sun story on Jack Layton and his visit to the masseuse was far less neutral.

          • Broke the story? It’s most likely the star sent the story to gawker so they could claim someone else broke the story.

          • If that helps you sleep at night, go ahead and believe it.

          • Your reality is fascinating.

          • the headline seems libelous – I predict a pretty big settlement

      • “but there’s no way The Star would”

        um, are you nuts? Of course they would! They’ve done it before and they’ll do it again.

        • Examples please.

        • Thank you for the irrefutable evidence.

          • Why are you calling me a freak? Asshole.

            Looks like they apologized for their error. I’m sure they’ll do the same if this video, independently well-described by three different reporters, turns out to be a fake.

          • Because you are a freak, and you are an asshole.

            You’re already moving the goalposts.

            You made the asinine assertion that because I did not act like your personal slave and provide you the evidence that is everywhere, that is easy to find, that yes, the Star frequently publishes stories on something flimsy, then you made the asinine accusation that such evidence did not exist. And you are such an arrogant asshole you went out of your way to act the arrogant asshole. So I’ve proven you wrong and here you are pretending your original assertion that “there’s no way the Star would jump on something flimsy”, that I disputed, was something else. Puhleaze. What a pathetic response. I responded to what you said, not whatever crap you’re pretending you said now. Now you’re pretending you made the assertion that this particular story is not flimsy. No, idiot, what you actually said was that the Star would never “jump on something flimsy without total confidence with what the reporter saw”. I’ve provided multiple examples that prove that assertion completely wrong. And you went out of your way to declare such an idiotic assertion completely right. You’re already eating crow, and you should eat sh*t along with it. And now here you are, pretending you’re not an asshole, with your pathetic re-invention of the facts. Go blow yourself.

          • I can’t wait for whatever absurd and pointless rebuttal you will invent. Save yourself the trouble and just keep it to yourself, you’ve embarrassed yourself enough already.

          • Wow, seems as though they’ve long had a vendetta against Ford, as any free-thinking human being would have noticed by now.


            What did some other journalists say?

            However, others questioned “is it a story” that Ford was seen at a fast food restaurant, according to J-Source.

            Now Toronto summarized reactions to the video as “most commentators…were of the opinion it was a low blow.” Likewise, in an April 18 article, the Toronto Star reported that readers’ response was “emotional” and largely “negative.” The Toronto Sun, for one, called it an “ambush” and a “chicken move” and defended Ford.

            And, Toronto Life magazine reported that the newspaper was criticized by “other papers…for bullying.”

            Wow, this “news” paper is just so reputable.

            You’re welcome, freak!

          • I am prepared to eat crow if they are wrong, asshole.

    • Exactly ! We are trust drug dealers and a paper that takes a personal vendettsa against a public figure to extremes. Get the video, prove it’s authentic, Ford and has not been edited etc. Then we have a case.

  3. “but there’s no way The Star would. Not something this big, that could lead to a massive lawsuit if they are wrong about the content.” All they have to do is say not clear whether true and no lawsuit as they didn’t lie. But this is sort of same level of journalism as National Enquirer… was Forest Gump real? Normally you at least *try* to get experts to test something like this if reputable newspaper.

    • Actually, public policy does protect one’s reputation so talking about a video if one is confident it is real, is likely ok, but adding negative labeling is a no-no from what I have read.

    • Did you read The Star article?

  4. It’s obvious the Star is milking this innuendo to discredit Rob Ford as hard as they can.

    It’s very tabloidesque behaviour. Disgusting really. They like to claim they’re serious journalists, but their bias is clearly showing.

    • it’s possible that Rob Ford is correct of course. But still, it’s safe to say that somewhere there exists a tape of him engaged in rather suspicious activity.

      • but so much more was said and written and, gulp – published!!!!

      • Like my video, where I’ve got him in a spaceship blasting liberals!!

  5. If I was a libel lawyer, I’d be salivating.

    • If I were you, I’d take the time to actually read the story.

      • It’s the star, you’d know more about the truth if you didn’t read the star story at all.

  6. Gotta be the smartest group of drug dealers in Canada. Keeping video evidence of their crimes and calling the media to showcase it to the country. Great way to stay outta jail, geniuses.

    Or this whole “story” is fictitious.

  7. Living in Hamilton, I see lots of crackheads. All of them are skeletal. Rob Ford? Not so much.

    • That’s because they buy cheap street crack, laced with rat poison. ford only buys the premium sh*t.

  8. This is why it is always advisable to conduct oneself in a manner that if such a video surfaces of you, your protestations will carry more weight.

    • Someone should have told ford that, long ago.

  9. Maclean’s has had no trouble criticizing the Sun.

    But I’ve yet to see them denounce the Star for this garbage. How far does the Star have to go before Maclean’s reports on their sad behaviour? That’s the story here. There really is a limit at which point the despicably childish behaviour of the Star should be called out by other news organizations. It’s most likely the Star fed this story to Gawker so that they could claim they were not the first to report it. But will that info ever come to light? Are there any journalists out there with standards? Are there any journalists out there willing to report the real news?

    Instead Maclean’s debases itself by republishing this Ford garbage.

    I guess Maclean’s wants to compete with the Star for the National Enquirer and TMZ crowd.

  10. If Ford’s denials turn out to be true, then the video the reporters allegedly viewed raises the intriguing possibility that Ford has a doppelganger.

    Let your mind wander through the ramifications of that for a moment…

    • You raise an interesting point.
      Look at Duffy.
      Look at Ford.

      Almost makes one think that somewhere an evil mastermind has figured out how to clone.

      • Given the recent trajectory of their careers, that evil mastermind must work for the Liberals.

  11. Show me the ‘money’, anonymous druggies/dealers, a gossip site and a newspaper on a witch hunt which has been wrong before, are believable. Normally papers don’t pay for sources but in this case, they should. The Star lost credibility before, they should;ve proved this one beyond a shadow of a doubt before smearing Ford with something like this. If it’s true, then Ford is done – but first – show me the verified goods..

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