Toronto mayor Rob Ford has just become the first mayor of a major North American city to officially deny smoking crack during his tenure. (Marion Barry, who somehow still holds the top Google result for "mayor crack," copped to it.)
The short version of the story so far: Gawker editor John Cook flew to Toronto to meet with drug dealers who claimed to have filmed the mayor smoking crack. Cook watched the video but didn't get a copy of it, as the dealers would only sell it for a substantial sum. Cook wrote a story about it. (The next day, the Toronto Star ran its story; it had seen the video earlier.) Given Ford's already colorful background, the internet exploded with glee / jokes. In the intervening days, Gawker tried to raise $200,000 to buy the tape and Ford stayed quiet.
The key section:
There has been a serious accusation from the Toronto Star that I use crack cocaine. I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine.
As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist. It is most unfortunate — very unfortunate — that my colleagues and the great people of this city have been exposed to the fact that I have been judged by the media without any evidence.
An uncharitable person might note that he didn't deny that he had smoked crack, but we are not such people.
(Language note: Do we really need to say "crack cocaine"? Doesn't everyone understand what "smoked crack" refers to by now? Please fight about this in the comments, below.)
Ford may also be hiring, if you know anyone looking for an interesting job. Earlier Friday, the mayor fired his chief of staff, Mark Towhey, either because Towhey told Ford to "go away and get help — as anonymous sources report — or because "no comment" — according to Ford.
If you want to see the video of Ford smoking crack (which you haven't seen and may not exist), you can still contribute to Gawker's fundraising drive — it has so far raised over $160,000 of the $200,000 the drug dealers requested. A word of warning, however: Gawker editor Cook hasn't heard from the dealers through his liaison for about a week. Caveat Latin-word-for-a-donor-to-a-crowdsourced-campaign-to-buy-a-video-of-a-politican-smoking-crack, as the saying goes.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.