As Toronto Mayor Rob Ford battles accusations that he was captured on cell phone video smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine, the conservative and controversial mayor can count on at least one ally: Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday.
In an interview with International Business Times, Holyday called out the Toronto Star for running a story that its reporters viewed the footage of Ford, saying the report was irresponsible. He also questioned whether the cell phone video is credible, pointing out that it had been shot by drug dealers or associates of drug dealers.
The Star reported that two Somali men are shopping the video for six figures. The Toronto paper’s story did not include the video, but two reporters provided descriptions of what they said was on the footage.
“If there was a video of it that was valid … I think they would have bought it,” Holyday said of the Star. “But they didn’t.”
Holyday alleged that the Toronto paper has a history of going after Ford with flimsy claims.
“This vendetta is getting larger by the day,” the deputy mayor said, adding that Ford “has been to court three times over various things” appearing in the Star.
“The Toronto Star has continuously ran front page stories that are no more than accusations,” Holyday said, adding that the allegations that Ford may have been smoking crack cocaine appear “outrageous.”
“It seems outrageous to me, knowing the background of the disputes between the two parties,” the lawmaker said of the mayor and the Star.
Holyday defended Ford, saying the mayor doesn’t have issues with alcohol or drugs, but prefaced his remarks by noting that he hasn’t viewed the cell phone video in question.
“I haven’t seen the mayor have any kinds of problems with drugs or alcohol but I haven’t seen the tape.”
While both the Star and media gossip site Gawker had reporters who saw the video, and both said the man in the video is Ford, Holyday said the footage could have been doctored considering the source of the material were drug dealers or associates of drug dealers.
“Heaven knows what they saw” on the video, Holyday said, adding that the holders of the tape may be engaging in a scam. “Everything can be looked to be made very real.”
Ford weighed in on the scandal Friday morning, calling the allegations "ridiculous."
“It’s ridiculous. Just another Toronto Star …,” the mayor said before trailing off, the newspaper reported as Ford stepped out of his home in the Etobicoke district of the city around 9:50 a.m. Friday. Ford then got into an SUV and told reporters, “see you down at City Hall."