Today in Craziness: Toronto Mayor Caught Up in Crack-Smoking Scandal

Last night Gawker published a story called, simply, “Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Smokes Crack.” The tale is pretty crazy–and Rob Ford, if you know anything about him, is pretty crazy–so follow along. Gawker editor John Cook received a tip that a group of prominent Toronto drug dealers had a cellphone video of the mayor smoking crack, and made him come to a housing development on the outskirts of town to watch it.

This is what he saw:

Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, is the only person visible in the frame. Prior to the trip, I spent a lot of time looking at photographs of Rob Ford. The man in the video is Rob Ford. It is well-lit, clear. Ford is seated, in a room in a house. In one hand is a a clear, glass pipe. The kind with a big globe and two glass cylinders sticking out of it. In the other hand is a lighter. A slurred voice off-camera is ranting about Canadian politics in what sounds like an attempt to goad Ford. “Pierre Trudeau was a faggot!” is the one phrase the lodges in my mind. Ford, pipe in one hand and lighter in the other, is laughing, and mildly protesting at the sacrilege. He seems to keep trying to light the pipe, but keeps stopping to laugh. He is red-faced and sweaty, heaving with each breath. Finally, he finds his moment and lights up. He inhales.

And then the dealers snatched away the phone, swore it depicted what they said it depicted, and asked Cook to pay six figures for the right to the video. Um, no thanks, he said, and was on his way. Another news outlet had offered $40,000, but that figure was deemed too low. And that outlet, it seems, was the Toronto Star, which almost immediately after Gawker broke the story, published a near-identical account. Minus sentences like: “He was fucking hiiiiigh.”

The Star piece includes more details about the video itself, as well as the finding that the dealers were Somali. But the point stands: Two news outlets have seen the video, and believe with near-certainty that it depicts Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smocking crack cocaine. Makes that time he was briefly thrown out of office by a judge for corruption late last year seem pretty tame, eh?

Might be time for Ford to bust out the trusty Mayor-Caught-Smoking-Crack “bitch set me up” defense right about now.