Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has once again denied that he was recorded smoking crack. This time, speaking on his weekly, two-hour (!) talk radio show, Ford said flat-out that the video in question doesn't exist at all, adding that the media as a whole are "a bunch of maggots" — then adding, "Sorry, maybe I shouldn't have said that."
Ford, who, sure, could be telling the truth, could have been encouraged to go all-in on denial by some speed bumps in Gawker's attempt to buy the video in question. Essentially, Gawker's editor John Cook took over the story last week by announcing that he's seen a video of Toronto mayor smoking crack within the past six months. But, he said, the video's owners won't give out the goods for free, so the site is trying to raise $200,000 by tomorrow to buy it from them. Right now, they're at $179,593. But on Friday, the same day Ford non-deny-denied this whole crack thing, Cook updated donors that hasn't been able to get in touch with the sellers for about a week: "Our confidence that we can consummate this transaction has diminished." The Toronto Star has also seen the video. They note that the sellers are a "group of Somali men involved in the drug trade."
In any case, Ford started to address the (alleged) video at the top of his show, but the conversation quickly devolved into Ford and his brother, city councillor Doug Ford, griping about the media, other city councillors, and pretty much anyone who's picked up on the allegations against either of them. Doug, earlier this week, was himself the subject of a Globe and Mail story alleging that he is a former hashish dealer:
"Do you know something, Rob? I'll tell you right now, the vast majority couldn't get a job," Doug said of his fellow councillors, "I'll tell you that right now and that's fact. "I wish the media looked into some of their backgrounds, where they came from."
But later, a caller going by "Pam" brought Mayor Ford back to the subject of the video itself. Here was his response:
“Number one: There’s no video, so that’s all I can say. You can’t comment on something that doesn’t exist.”
"There has been a serious accusation from the Toronto Star that I use crack cocaine. I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine.
As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist."
You can watch Mayor Ford answer Pam over at the Toronto Star. Pam also asked the Brothers Ford about a photograph published by both Gawker and the Star, allegedly showing the mayor standing with a recent murder victim, Anthony Smith, who'd been connected by some to the city's drug trade. Doug essentially called that question racist, adding "Rob has taken thousands of pictures with young black men, with their hats on, with their little funny signs and everything else." So there's that.