Vice magazine waded into the Rob Ford crack-video saga tonight with a story containing sensational allegations about Amin Massoudi, the mayor’s communications director.
The piece alleges, among other things, that Massoudi sought the services of a hacker to crack the password of a private online directory that allegedly contained a digital copy of the infamous video. It replicates a chain of emails purportedly written between May 18, the day after the crack video story hit the web, and May 31.
The writers of the piece, Patrick McGuire and Rocco Castoro, say Massoudi did not respond to multiple voicemail and emails the left requesting comment. Rob and Doug Ford apparently ignored requests for comment, too.
I’ll let the story speak for itself, but it struck me as odd that Massoudi wouldn’t respond to something so seemingly explosive. So I put in my own queries to him, and here, for the record, is what I got back:
A disturbing and false story on a U.S. website has recently come to my attention. Having reviewed the contents of the story, I can categorically state that at no time did I engage in any of the activities mentioned therein. The entirety of the story is false and everything referenced therein has been fabricated. It is telling that the story neither quotes any named sources nor provides any independent corroboration of the alleged hacker’s information. The story does not meet even the most basic of journalistic standards.
To be clear, at no time did I use a City of Toronto email account – or any other account for that matter – to instruct anyone to hack into anything. I will be requesting that the City of Toronto IT department further investigate this matter to see if my email account has been spoofed, as I have no knowledge of anyone using my email account for this purpose and I have never used it for this purpose myself.
The unnamed source claims to have deleted the very evidence he or she is now trying to pawn over the Internet. Any alleged evidence is clearly fabricated. As the alleged story appears on a sensationalist website based outside the jurisdiction of our courts, then I presume that your organization will not republish for the public these false and defamatory comments now that you have been put on notice of the false and defamatory nature of the comments, which would clearly cause damage to me and others. I may need to seek legal advice to enforce my rights, but it is my hope that your organization would never republish this harmful story.
Communications and Media Relations
Office of Mayor Rob Ford
City of Toronto