Still reeling from last night's Scandal season finale? Well there's an actual scandal brewing in Toronto right now, and it's nothing to scoff at. Gawker claims to have seen a video showing conservative Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack while having a dazed discussion about politics with someone who's off-camera. After traveling to Toronto and going to great lengths to actually view the video, this is what Gawker writer John Cook says he watched:
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 f*****!" 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.
Two reporters from the Toronto Star have also watched the video three times. Though there are a few minor differences in their accounts (the Star star says Trudeau's son, Justin, is actually being referenced; they also say it was Ford who made the derogatory comment), the Star does say that the man appears to be Ford. The image above was given to the Star by the same person who showed them the video.
The video is for sale, and the owner wants six figures for it. Gawker's tipster wants the video to be released, and Gawker is trying to make that happen, though they received a warning shot of an email from Dennis Morris, a man claiming to be Ford's lawyer. Please read it:
Greetings;I am a lawyer,and have been contacted by Mayor Ford's office in reference to your indicating you will post a photo of Mayor Ford smoking crack cocaine. Mayor Ford denies such took place,and if such posting occurs,it is false and defamatory,and you will be held legally accountable.In reference to the photo,you wish to publish, Mayor Ford has his photo taken daily,sometimes with others.
If the person you mention is now deceased,it is sad,regardless of his alleged background.
Please govern yourself accordingly.
Keep in mind that neither we nor Gawker altered the email's format at all. It's about as suspect as the Hotmail account it allegedly came from. Stay tuned, because this is far from over.