Gawker claims video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack is up for sale

May 26, 2013: "There is no video, so that's all I can say. You can't comment on something that doesn't exist." - Rob Ford denies a video exists after Gawker claims there is one of him smoking crack up for sale.

A bizarre headline about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has made its way onto Gawker - a prominent U.S. new blog that has recently taken an interest in the leader of Canada's largest city.

According to Gawker correspondent John Cook, an unidentified person shot a video of Ford smoking crack cocaine and is looking to sell the video for a six-digit figure.

The Gawker story begins with this paragraph:

Rob Ford, Toronto's conservative mayor, is a wild lunatic given to making bizarre racist pronouncements and randomly slapping refrigerator magnets on cars. One reason for this is that he smokes crack cocaine. I know this because I watched him do it, on a videotape. He was fucking hiiiiigh. It's for sale if you've got six figures.

Cook goes on the describe a journey he took to Toronto in an attempt to buy the video, during which he met a man who claims to have shot the video and watched the footage on a touch-screen cell phone while sitting in a car outside a housing project somewhere near the airport.

Gawker was further provided with an undated image of Ford standing between two men – one of whom is said to be Anthony Smith, a former football player on Ford's high school team who was recently killed in a shooting.

[ Related: Rob Ford declares downtown casino debate dead-ish ]

Here are a couple of significant claims made in the Gawker piece:

  • The video was shot in the last six months

  • Ford purchases crack cocaine from a dealer who is popular with the city's elite, allegedly including some of Ford’s staff members and his brother, as well as a "prominent hockey analyst."

  • A Canadian news agency allegedly offered $40,000 for the video, but was told it wasn't enough. The owner wanted to sell it for six figures.

The full story is pretty complicated and worth a read. There is no evidence corroborating the allegations Cook makes, outside of what he has brought to the table. And these allegations, as damning as they appear, should be taken at face value until more information is available.

It should be noted that former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson alleged Ford appeared to be on cocaine during a party in March, at which she claimed he grabbed her rear end.

Ford called her a liar and demanded an apology.

It appears Gawker and its sister-site Deadspin have recently taken notice of Ford and his antics. The sites have published stories on his foibles several times in recent months, including his recent run-in with a video camera and the time he posed for a photograph at McDonalds with someone dressed in a Hamburglar outfit.