In the 11 days since Gawker broke the story that mayor Rob Ford (allegedly) likes to smoke a little crack in his drug dealer’s basement, Toronto has seen furious denials, crowd-funded campaigns, late-night wisecracks, staff departures and a lot of media mobs outside the mayor’s office. There’s a new meltdown every day; here, a roundup of the latest developments.
Rob Ford’s eight days of silence ended Friday when he delivered a statement (reportedly largely written by his family) denying that he uses crack cocaine. Then, on his Sunday radio show, he called the media “maggots,” said that the infamous video “doesn’t exist” and explained away the photo of him with his arm around a recently murdered drug dealer by saying he takes pictures with everyone (that last point is certainly true).
The take-away: Ford’s response has been generally derided as not explicit enough, especially since his denials were confined to the present tense. “I don’t use crack cocaine,” many wordsmiths noted, doesn’t mean he hasn’t done crack cocaine in the past.
The family history
On Saturday, the Globe and Mail tried to wrest the story away from the Toronto Star with a long investigative piece about the Ford family’s connections to illegal drugs that relied heavily on anonymous sources. The paper alleges Doug Ford sold hash in Etobicoke for several years his late teens and early 20s (and that he was too much of a big shot to even roll down his window to people he didn’t know). Doug denied being a dealer and said he thought Globe editor-in-chief John Stackhouse was “a disgusting human being.” The paper stands by the story.
The take-away: The Globe and Mail’s story may very well be true, but we’re not sure whether dredging up 20-year-old gossip adds much to the current conversation.
The clamour to see the 90-second clip that reportedly shows Ford smoking crack hasn’t abated, especially since the Globe and Mail reported this morning that a tipster in Ford’s office says they know where the video is being held—and its original owner may have been killed for it. Meanwhile, the Crackstarter campaign to buy the video ends tonight
and the tally is less than $6,000 shy of the $200,000 goal (UPDATE: Crackstarter has now surpassed its goal). Though there’s one major problem: Gawker hasn’t been able to reach the people in possession of the video since May 19.
The take-away: Between its potential connection to a homicide and the MIA owners, Jimmy Kimmel’s re-enactment may be the closest the public ever gets to seeing the video.
The dwindling circle
The mayor’s office has been hemorrhaging staff. Chief of staff Mark Towhey was fired Thursday, reportedly because he wanted Ford to get to rehab, stat. Today, Ford’s press secretary George Christopoulos and deputy press secretary Issac Ransom walked off the job, leaving just acting chief of staff Earl Provost and junior staff. As much as councillors reiterate they’re continuing with the day-to-day running of the city, the brouhaha has undoubtedly taken time and attention from non-crack-related concerns.
The take-away: God help Toronto.