Toronto Mayor Rob Ford finally denied using crack cocaine, a week after two media organizations reported viewing video of the mayor smoking from a crack pipe.
Ford has dodged questions about his behaviour for an entire week before finally making a statement on the subject.
He appeared in front of cameras late Friday afternoon after members of his inner circle urged him to address the issue.
“I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine,” Ford said. He suggested his lawyer had urged him not to discuss the matter publicly, which led to his silence.
Ford then attacked the Toronto Star, one of two news groups to have reported seeing the video, and accused them of lying about the video.
“I cannot comment on a video I have never seen or does not exist. It is most unfortunate, very unfortunate, that my colleagues and the people of this city have been exposed to the fact that I have been judged by the media without any evidence.
Until Friday, Ford’s only comment on the issue was that the situation was “ridiculous.” The story, and his refusal to address the allegations, have fueled international attention.
The night before his comment, Gawker announced that its plans to purchase the video in question had been compromised because they could no longer get in contact with the source.
Ford refused to accept questions after his statement. His press secretary reportedly told media to “be respectful” during the scrum.
The demand for respect comes after Ford’s brother, Coun. Doug Ford, attacked the media and accused them of attacking his brother and his family. Doug Ford’s statement, derided as a horrific attempt to spin the situation, was seen as an attack on the media and an attempt to make the mayor seem to be the victim.