An exhaustive look at the past 9 days in the life of crack-smoking, press-conference holding Toronoto Mayor Rob Ford, the man who’s so awful it’s exhausting.
What’s Going On in the New Rob Ford Video?
This has been a terrible week for the Rob Ford administration. On Tuesday afternoon, Ford admitted that he has smoked crack cocaine, which inspired a nearly unanimous string of mockery from every late-night TV host and Twitter account owner in the world. More importantly, that admission, after months of question-dodging and denial, sounded more like a proverbial fuck you to the City of Toronto and its many hard working councilors and employees who are not currently embroiled in a crack related crime scandal. Then, about an hour after the crack admission, VICE reported that Amin Massoudi, Rob Ford’s spokesman, allegedly hired a hacker to destroy the crack tape on a private server—an allegation that Amin denied hours after we published our investigation, despite not answering several of our very specific requests for comment days before.
The Toronto media has been blue-balling the public all week with hints that there are more bombshells to come, and that’s not surprising. The 474-page surveillance document released last week is so heavily redacted with swaths of thick black ink that clearly there are more, presumably ridiculous, revelations to come. As a journalist, it’s somewhat thrilling. As a Torontonian, it’s exhausting and sad.
Reflecting on happier times, 8 months ago, when we thought Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was just a buffoon with a terrible photographer.
Rob Ford’s Office Hired a Hacker to Destroy the Crack Tape
In late July, an anonymous source approached VICE with claims that he had been hired by Amin Massoudi, the communications director for troubled Toronto mayor Rob Ford, to hack into a website.
More specifically, the source—who for matters of simplicity will be referred to as “the hacker” from here on out—said he was asked by Amin to crack the password of a private online directory that allegedly contained a digital copy of the now infamous footage of Mayor Ford smoking a substance out of a crack pipe. Rob Ford has, up until very recently, publicly doubted the existence of the video.
VICE acquired a log of emails that, according to the hacker, detail his correspondence with Amin from May 18 to May 31 of this year. When contacted by VICE, the hacker confirmed the validity of these emails but also said it was a little more complicated than it seemed. He agreed to talk if we would preserve his identity, as publishing it would incriminate him.
In case you aren’t caught up on the intoxicated calamity that is Rob Ford’s contemporary existence, today he bluntly admitted to having smoked crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor.”This insane bombshell comes after last week’s statement from Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, whoconfirmed that the crack tape Gawker and the Toronto Star reported on does indeed exist and contains footage that is “consistent” with their reports that claim the video shows Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. Rob Ford also appeared on his weekly radio show this past Sunday toapologize to the City of Toronto and asked for the crack tape to be released to the public “immediately.”
In light of these recent developments, we believe that now is the time to publish portions of Amin and the hacker’s arrangement since first receiving the emails in July for the benefit of public interest.
Rob Ford Needs to Step Down
Update: Rob Ford has commented on today’s revelations by saying: “I wish I could come out and defend myself. Unfortunately I can’t it’s before the courts. That’s all I can say. I have no reason to resign.” Reporters yelled questions at him about whether he lied to the people of Toronto, but the mayor just walked away.
Early this morning, a line of reporters with microphones and cameras waited outside of Rob Ford’s house. When Rob Ford emerged from his suburban cave, he was immediately bombarded with questions about whether or not he is at the center of a drug-related police investigation, along with questions about his relationship with Alexander Lisi, a man who is known as Rob Ford’s driver, close friend, and an alleged drug dealer with a history of domestic abuse. Unfortunately, Rob Ford didn’t take the questions gracefully and ended up screaming and yelling, “Get off my property! What don’t you understand? Get off my property, partner!” at the reporters who, undoubtedly, are only asking the questions that are on every Torontonian’s mind right now.
This morning’s scrum was the result of the Toronto police released a 474-page document—with a lot of the presumably juicy stuff blacked out and redacted to avoid implicating those who are currently innocent—detailing results of a surveillance operation that clearly targeted Rob Ford and Alexander Lisi. The police dubbed their municipal spy mission “Project Brazen 2,” which I like to believe was inspired by the unbelievably bold and inappropriate behavior Toronto’s mayor appears to believe he can get away with.
I didn’t expect a major bombshell to come out of today’s release, given that an investigation is still underway and given that Ford has been gleefully avoiding the issue ofwhether or not he’s a crack user by decorating his office like a haunted house. I was very wrong. Shortly after the document was released, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair vindicated what Gawker and the Toronto Star have been claiming since May—much to the ire of Ford and his legion of largely suburban political supporters. Blair held a press conference where he admitted that yes, the crack video exists, and yes, Rob Ford is indisputably pictured in it with a crack pipe in his hands.
How the Rob Ford Smoking Crack Scandal Is Just Like ‘The Wire’
The allegation that a crew of drug dealers had a video of mayor Rob Ford smoking crack has resulted in a prolonged and sad controversy in Toronto. Our city’s once triumphant king—who we have heralded for his ability to charmingly pose for terrible photographs, or conquer his rivals after getting fired—has become a political pariah while keeping both ass cheeks firmly on the throne. After the firings and resignations of several disloyal staff members and some accusations from the Globe and Mail that his brother Dougie used to sell hash, his other brother Randy kidnapped a dude who owed him money, and his sister Kathy (who was shot in the face by her boyfriend) hung out with Nazis, the once sparkling face of the Ford dynasty is now looking pimply and scabbed up.
What with City Hall, the police, Toronto’s drug dealers, and the media playing a major role in events, there’s no real-life parallel to this evolving story—it’s more like a work of fiction, specifically David Simon’s much-lauded TV series The Wire, and even more specifically the really implausible plot points in season five. (You can imagine a writer pitching a hard drug–abusing mayor to Simon and Simon tossing that suggestion out for being unrealistic.) But if Toronto’s crackgate (or whatever we’re calling it now) is The Wire, who are the analogues to the major players in the scandal? Here are the answers I came up with.
The Facebook Comments That Rob Ford Doesn’t Want You to See
Above: A crack pipe word cloud, because, why not?
The comments on the Facebook page of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford are, on the whole, positive and congratulatory. Even in the wake of the ever-evolving ‘Crackgate’ scandal, Fordites have been posting a plethora of supportive comments to the Mayor’s wall:
“Rob. Hang on. you are doing the best job. We love you…Burden is on star to provide proof. There was no video released, so it does not exist. Not even short ten seconds teaser trailer. as to create attention. all this screams from pinkos are unsubstantinated. They have no video, you do not need to explain any further.”
“Mr ford I just want to say I have alot of respect for you and your visions for this great city of ours. Keep up the good work and remember there are alot of people rooting for you.”
It shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that the comments on the mayor’s Facebook page are heavily monitored and screened. For any high-profile politician, online comments are like town hall forums: they appear spontaneous but are actually highly choreographed. In the case of Ford’s Facebook page, negative comments are systematically cleansed from the mayor’s wall.
This practice came to my attention last week when Gawker first broke the Crackgate story. As the controversy reverberated throughout the digital space, I wanted to gauge Torontonians’ reactions. And what better place to share your support or dismay for your elected official than his public Facebook page? I noted a couple of particularly disparaging remarks about Mr. Ford and mentioned them to a friend in passing a couple of hours later.
When they tried to look them up, they’d already been deleted.
We Spoke to a Former Crack Addict About Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
As everyone in Toronto (and now the planet) knows, Mayor Rob Ford has been accused of smoking crack cocaine. There’s apparently video evidence of him getting high while talking shit about Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau and immigrants. But the world still hasn’t seen that video and Rob has not officially addresed the issue. And while Gawker’s crowd-funded Indiegogo campaign to raise money to buy the iPhone footage from the drug dealers who took it is closing in on its $200,000 goal, they can’t even find the aforementioned drug dealers. On top of all that, Mark Towhey, Robbie’s former chief of staff, was fired for telling him to “get help.”
With all of this insane bullshit clouding Toronto’s municipal politics, we decided to talk to someone who knows firsthand what crack addiction and crack smoking looks like: a former crack addict named Rick. Here’s what he thinks of the allegations against poor ol’ Robbie.
VICE: Like everyone else, you’ve heard the story of Rob Ford’s crack video by now. Do you think the mayor could be a crack smoker?
Rick: If you’re asking my opinion, I suppose it’s possible that he might have tried it, but there is no way he is crack addict. I will go out on a limb and say it is impossible to be a crack addict and maintain any kind of lifestyle, let alone be a mayor. I doubt he’s even a drug addict at all.
Can people smoke crack casually?
No. I don’t think so. I’ve never heard of a casual crack smoker. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but I’ve never heard of it.
Toronto’s Rob Ford, the World’s Greatest Mayor, Smokes Crack
There came a point on Thursday afternoon—after learning that Toronto mayor Rob Ford had taken some time off from an important city-council meeting to wander around a parking lot sticking “Rob Ford” magnets to cars—that I figured it would be time to update you about the ongoing saga that is Robbie’s intoxicated reign over the Kingdom of Toronto. Way back when, before the already infamous crack-cocaine scandal of May 2013, the magnet controversy of 24 hours earlier didn’t seem so important. That is, of course, until Gawker broke the story that some guy, somewhere, has a video of King Robbie smoking crack from a glass pipe. And the footage is for sale. Until someone buys it, you can always watch the Taiwanese CGI reenactment.
Gawker—who have decided that this is not an “alleged” or “supposed” crack-smoking incident, given that they’ve got a graphic that reads “Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Smokes Crack” on their homepage—have caused a major firestorm for King Robbie the First in the City of Toronto. The Toronto Star, an ungrateful and petulant organization that is hell-bent on taking down the mayor, has viewed the tape “three times” but was clearly too cheap to buy it and stream it for the royal subjects of the Rob Ford empire. Plus, according to them, they saw this video on May 3. Why keep all this crack-smoking mayhem a secret? And what kind of incompetent blackmail-video salesman is behind this controversy? How can you mess up on monetizing such a golden piece of footage? One must assume they’re ready to let it go at fire-sale prices right now.