An online crowdfunding campaign has raised enough money to ransom a video that supposedly shows Mayor Rob Ford smoking a crack pipe.
Well, it happened: after 11 days, U.S. gossip website Gawker has managed to raise $200,000 in donations from members of the public for use in buying a video that supposedly shows Mayor Rob Ford smoking a crack pipe.
Gawker‘s “Rob Ford Crackstarter,” an Indiegogo campaign, reached its funding goal at about 3:54 this afternoon, with about 11 hours to spare before its self-imposed deadline. What this means is that the full amount will be paid out to Gawker, so it, in turn, can pay off an alleged crack dealer who is believed to have the video on an iPhone.
John Cook, the Gawker editor who is one of three reporters known to have seen the footage (the other two work for the Star), has called it a “crystal clear, well-lit video of the mayor of Toronto smoking crack cocaine.” Gawker intends to publish the video.
Gawker‘s plan to obtain the video this way was never a sure thing, but Cook further tempered expectations last Thursday when he revealed that Gawker has been having trouble getting in touch with the video’s owner since May 18. Ford, for his part, now denies that the video is even a thing. He said, on Sunday’s edition of his weekly radio show, that it “doesn’t exist.”
Regardless, if there is someone out there with access to the video, and if that person is still able to sell the video, things should move pretty quickly now. If the deal doesn’t come together, Gawker has pledged to donate the money to a Canadian non-profit that deals with drug addiction, though its editors haven’t said which one.