TORONTO – The U.S.-based website Gawker has launched a fundraising campaign “Rob Ford Crackstarter” through indiegogo.com with the goal of raising $200,000 in an attempt to buy a video that allegedly shows Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking from a glass pipe.
The campaign has already raised $8,000 and “pledges to donate 100% of the proceeds to a Canadian non-profit institution that helps people suffering from drug addiction and its various consequences” if the campaign is unsuccessful.
U.S.-based website Gawker and The Toronto Star are both reporting that they have watched a video purportedly showing someone who looks like Ford smoking from a pipe with a group of men allegedly involved in the drug trade.
During a short press conference Friday the mayor called the allegations “ridiculous.”
Two Canadians have also created a campaign through the crowd-funding website indiegogo.com with the goal of raising $100,000 in their own attempt to buy the alleged video tape.
Kerry Morrison, a mobile app developer based in Toronto, and Chris Breikss, an online marketing consultant based in Vancouver, are behind the Buy the Rob Ford drug tape campaign.
Chris Breikss said they started the campaign as a way to keep “the video out of someone’s private hands and the story gets buried.”
“We actually came up with the idea while we were having dinner,” said Chris Breikss, one of the campaign’s founders, who added the he and Kerry Morrison were “old buddies.”
“We were talking about Rob Ford, and Kerry went on Twitter and said there’s a story breaking about Rob Ford,” said Breikss. ” We wrote the (indiegogo campaign) description at the dinner table.”
Global News has so far not been able to view the tape, or independently verify claims made by the Toronto Star and Gawker.
Indiegogo.com was designed as a crowd-funding solution that allows people to donate funds easily to causes they are passionate about.
The website works on a model similar to the U.S. crowd-funding site kickstarter.com, which allows members to create fundraising campaigns with a specific monetary goal.
According to indiegogo.com the website charges a four per cent fee on any money that is raised and a nine per cent fee if the goal is not reached.
Each campaign has its own viewable page that tracks the fundraising process and records how many people contribute to the campaign and how much each person contributes.
According to the Buy the Rob Ford drug tape campaign’s homepage, if they reach the fundraising goal they will immediately distribute the tape to the media.
“Ideally we would want to put it on Youtube. We don’t want credit for getting the video, we just want (the video) to come to light,” said Breikss. “If we don’t raise enough money or we don’t get the video every dollar will go to CAMH.”