At an impromptu press conference at City Hall earlier today, Mayor Rob Ford admitted to having smoked crack cocaine “about a year ago” while in “one of my drunken stupors.” He said he doesn’t recall a video being taken, or where he was when he smoked crack. He maintains that he isn’t a crack addict, and that he didn’t lie to the public, because reporters didn’t ask the “right questions.”
The admission comes just days after Police Chief Bill Blair revealed that Toronto police have a copy of a video that appears to show Ford smoking crack—evidently a version of the same video viewed by reporters from Gawker and the Star. Both outlets published their first stories about the video in May, but neither was able to obtain and release it, because its owners were asking for large amounts of money.
At a press conference in May, about a week after the video’s existence became public knowledge, Ford said, “I do not use crack cocaine,” and called the existence of the video into question. Following Bill Blair’s announcement that the video was in custody, Ford’s lawyer began to suggest, to reporters, that the mayor was using a glass pipe to smoke some other substance, like tobacco.
Ford has called for the video’s release, but Blair has said that it will be submitted to the courts, along with other evidence related to Ford’s friend, Sandro Lisi, who has been charged with extortion as a result of his (Lisi’s) alleged attempts to recover the video from the men who were trying to sell it to journalists.
A video of Ford’s crack admission, from Centennial Journalism, is embedded above. Shortly after the scrum Ford was interviewed by the Toronto Sun. He confirmed that despite calls from many of his colleagues, just about every media outlet, and many residents, he will not be taking time away from work to deal with all this: “I felt I had to say it. It is what is. I feel two inches high right now but I needed to deal with it. I am not going to quit or take a leave.”
And here’s a transcript of the relevant parts of the video:
Ford: [To one person among a crowd of reporters.] You asked me the question back in May. You can repeat that question.
Male Reporter: The question I asked you back in May?
Female Reporter: You said the video didn’t exist, sir.
Ford: You asked me a couple questions. What were those questions?
Male Reporter: Do you smoke crack cocaine?
Ford: Exactly. Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. But do I? Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Um, probably in one of my drunken stupors. Probably approximately about a year ago. I answered your question. You ask a question properly, I’ll answer it. I’ve made mistakes. All I can do now is apologize and move on.
[Several reporters shout inaudible questions.]
Ford: All I can say is I’ve made mistakes, and you guys kept referring to alcohol. There was a couple isolated incidents. There’s been times when I’ve been in a drunken stupor. That’s why I want to see the tape. I want everyone in the city to see this tape. I’d like to see this tape. I don’t even recall there being a tape or a video and I know that, so I want to see the state that was in. But, um, that’s exactly it. I don’t know what else I can say.
[More inaudible questions.]
Ford: So, I wasn’t lying. You didn’t ask the correct questions. No, I’m not an addict. And no, I did not do drugs. I made mistakes in the past, and all I can do is apologize, but it is what it is. And I can’t change the past. And I apologize to my family, my friends, my colleagues, and the people of this great city.
[More inaudible questions.]
Ford: I told you, probably, approximately, I’d probably say around, about a year ago. But I don’t know exactly.
Female Reporter: Where were you?
Ford: I don’t even remember. After some of the stuff that you guys have seen me—the state I’ve been in. It’s a problem.