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Reaction Roundup: Drug Allegations Against Mayor Rob Ford

Responses to Mayor Rob Ford's latest scandal.

20130517fordroundup

We don’t know whether he did it or not, but we do know this much: three reporters say they have seen a cell-phone video that appears to show Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack.

After the news broke on Gawker Thursday evening, the Twitter reaction was immediate and explosive. The silence in local media, meanwhile, was deafening. No Toronto outlet other than the Star had seen—or, at any rate, would admit to having seen—the video in question, which was recorded, supposedly, by a man believed to have provided Ford with the crack he allegedly smoked.

After the Star‘s article went up, around midnight, it took until morning for much of the rest of the city—and the world—to catch up. And boy, have they.

Here’s what’s being said about Ford’s latest scandal.

Locally, various city councillors have begun to weigh in. Ford’s deputy mayor, Doug Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre), had this to say, according to the Globe:

“I have not seen any indication of him using any substances like this, or anything else for that matter.”

Meanwhile, John Parker (Ward 26, Don Valley West), Ford’s deputy speaker, called on the mayor to address the allegations head on:

“We all hope that the inferences that are floating around are untrue and the only one who can set us straight on that is the Mayor.”

And the police are also aware of the situation. The same Globe article quotes TPS spokesperson Mark Pugash saying the following:

“…we are monitoring the situation closely.”

Whatever that means.

Ford isn’t the first big-city mayor to find himself in this position. In 1990, Marion Barry, who was then the mayor of Washington D.C., was videotaped smoking crack by the FBI. He was later convicted of drug possession.

In an interview with Washington Citypaper, Barry had this to say about the Ford case:

“Unless he was entrapped by the government, it’s not similar.”

It’s worth noting that although Barry lost the mayoral election following his arrest, he did win a city council seat after being released from prison. Then, in 1993, he was elected mayor again.

And that’s not the only international press the story has attracted. Spurred on by Gawker, lots of out-of-town outlets are starting to discover Mayor Ford.

The BBC has picked up the story on its website.

New York Magazine has something on one of its blogs.

NBC is running a wire story from Reuters, meaning Mayor Ford’s name could start appearing in lots of other places fairly soon.

And, naturally, there’s a Taiwanese animation of the story now making the rounds on YouTube:

Another thing to come out of this whole affair was a Twitterfight between a Gawker editor and a reporter at the Toronto Star. The main bone of contention was the fact that the Star is referring to its story on the crack video as an “exclusive,” despite the fact that Gawker had reported on the video hours earlier.

Granted, it was a pretty one-sided fight. Let’s take a look, shall we?


And finally, let’s not forget the several Indiegogo campaigns that have sprung up in an attempt to pay for the crack video’s release. The owners are reportedly asking for six figures. There’s one semi-legit one that was set up by the Vancouver Province, and then at least one other whose legitimacy we can’t vouch for.

And, in the past hour, Gawker has launched its own Indiegogo campaign. It probably stands the best chance of succeeding, but that’s not an endorsement of spending your money on this. We all want to see the video, but do we really want to pay off the guys who took it?

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