Watch: Mayor Rob Ford reiterated that the allegations of drug use are ridiculous and another example of Toronto Star “going after” him.
TORONTO – Mayor Rob Ford has called recent allegations of a video showing someone who matches his appearance smoking what could be crack cocaine, “ridiculous.”
Ford made the comment to a group of reporters as he left his Etobicoke home Friday morning.
The Toronto Star is reporting two of its reporters have viewed the video in question, purportedly showing someone who looks like Ford smoking from a pipe with a group of men allegedly involved in the drug trade.
The reporters had no way of knowing what was in the pipe but were told by the men that the man in the video was smoking crack.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, who has not seen the video, said it is shocking news to wake up to.
“I don’t know what to say at this point, it’s shocking to see it on the front page of a newspaper,” he said. “We all know videos can be altered and drug dealers can’t be trusted.”
The deputy mayor hasn’t spoken to Ford since the allegations surfaced.
“I would advise the mayor to speak to the media, but he needs to do so in a prepared way,” Holyday said.
News of the apparent video’s existence was first posted to the U.S.-based website Gawker late Thursday night.
John Cook, the writer of the Gawker article, told Global News that he was contacted by a “tipster” who was trying to sell the alleged video.
Cook says one of the images the tipster sent him to establish trust was the photo of a man who could be Ford with someone who the tipster claimed was Anthony Smith – who was recently killed outside of the Loki nightclub on March 28.
Cook says he took a trip to Toronto on Monday to see the video.
“The vantage point of the video is from someone sitting directly across from him and he’s holding in one hand a bulbous clear glass pipe that kind of has like a globe with two cylinders sticking out of it and in the other hand he’s got a lighter,” Cook said. “He leans forward, brings the pipe to his mouth, lights it and inhales.”
Despite Ford’s denial of the allegations, Cook says he is standing by his story.
According to The Star, the newspaper was told the video was shot this past winter at a house near Dixon Road and Kipling Avenue. The paper admits it has no way to verify the authenticity of the video.
Dennis Morris, a lawyer retained by the mayor, has told The Star publication of some of the details reported in Gawker‘s story are “false and defamatory.”
“How can you indicate what the person is actually doing or smoking?” Morris asked The Star.
The newspaper said it was offered the video for sale two weeks ago by a representative of the person claiming to have recorded it on a smartphone. The Star claims it did not obtain the video independently or pay any money for it.
Global News is working to get the mayor’s direct response to the video and any of these claims.
Toronto Police tell Global News that they are “closely monitoring the situation” but refused to say whether they’d been approached by anyone with evidence alleging a crime or what might prompt them to pursue charges.
As Ford left his house Friday morning, he was met by a throng of reporters asking questions about the allegations, and said only, “I’ll see you guys down at City Hall,” as he got into his car. Watch the raw video below:
– With files from The Canadian Press