Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who was allegedly captured on cell phone video smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine, denied the claims Friday and called the media reports “ridiculous.”
Ford, a conservative, was asked about the video being shopped by two Somali men and viewed by reporters at the Toronto Star and the media gossip website Gawker.
“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,” the Star reported.
Ford's lawyer, Dennis Morris, couldn't say whether or not such a video exists, but he said the mayor denies smoking crack, according to the CBC.
"I can tell you that he denies the allegations," Morris said.
The International Business Times reached out to several Toronto city councillors about the scandal, but they either refused to comment or their office phones went straight to voicemail. Councillor Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, was among the lawmakers whose phones went to voicemail.
Toronto City Councillor Josh Coelle weighed in on the latest controversy to hit Ford, who's a controversial mayor.
“It’s just shocking stuff,” Coelle told the Star. “You hope it’s not true but, either way, I just hope the mayor says something as soon as possible. Because it’s salacious, it will be a massive distraction and we’re dealing with important things.”
The Toronto City Council has yet to take any action over the alleged video showing Ford smoking crack, Jamie Kirkpatrick, executive assistant to Councillor Shelley Carroll, told IBTimes.
“Too soon to know” what steps the council might take, Kirkpatrick said.
The scandal broke Thursday night, when Gawker revealed that one of its reporters had seen the video but didn't purchase the clip showing Ford allegedly smoking crack and using a gay slur to describe Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau.
The Star then said two of its reporters viewed the cell phone video, and that it was being shopped for six figures by two Somali men.
Kevin Donovan, investigative editor for the Star, and city hall reporter Robyn Doolittle, described what they saw on the video. Donovan said he had been investigating the allegations for two months.
“We were shown a shocking video,” Donovan says in a clip on the Star website. “The video, which appears to be real, showed Mayor Rob Ford in a room, his shirt open, lolling back in his chair and appears to be smoking a crack pipe.”
Doolittle says, “The man in the video, who we believe is Mayor Rob Ford, appears stumbling. He seems incoherent, he rambles. At one point, he appears to call Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau a ‘fag.’”
Donovan chimes in, “Mayor Ford ends this segment on camera -- which lasts only 90 seconds -- by being startled when he hears a telephone ring. He looks directly into the camera and says, ‘That thing better not be recording.’”
The Star investigative editor said he and Doolittle saw the video three separate times and wrote their own notes based on the clip.
Also on the video, Ford allegedly appears to call the Don Bosco High School football team “just f------ minorities,” according to the newspaper. He also allegedly declared, “I’m f------ right-wing.”
Howard Koplowitz reports on crime and breaking news events for International Business Times. Howard formerly worked on IBT's continuous news desk, where he covered trending...