Chatting with the Porn Star Who Wants Rob Ford’s Job
The 2014 Toronto mayoral election has attracted enough oddball candidates that it’s making the 2003 California gubernatorial recall look like the pinnacle of democratic integrity (that’s the one in which Arnold Schwarzenegger beat out Larry Flint and Gary Coleman). In case you’re not familiar with the current crop of candidates looking to take Rob Ford’s seat, the options include a white supremacist, a dude who almost made marijuana legal in Canada, the conveniently named Al Gore, one of the geniuses who wrote the classic Toronto anthem “Spadina Bus,” and a dread-headed hippie who uncomfortably misappropriates Rastafarian culture.
Toronto’s crowded field of unlikely candidates got a lot more erotic after Nikki Benz, adult-film actress, announced her candidacy last month. Benz is a Torontonian through and through. She grew up in Etobicoke—the home of current mayor Rob Ford—before jetting to Los Angeles in 2004 to seek a fame and fortune by putting P’s in her V on camera. Her films like Anal Dream Team andMeet the Fuckers 6 have made her a commercial and critical favorite in the world of porn, resulting in seven Adult Video News award nominations.
Nikki sent the press into a tizzy a few weeks ago when she introduced her Brazzers-backed candidacy with the deliriously clever “Trade in Your Ford for a Benz” campaign slogan—but then she ran into some trouble when the driver’s license she used to register was expired and the city prevented her from registering her official candidacy. She’s in the process of resolving the issue now.
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Chatting with the Porn Star Who Wants Rob Ford’s Job

The 2014 Toronto mayoral election has attracted enough oddball candidates that it’s making the 2003 California gubernatorial recall look like the pinnacle of democratic integrity (that’s the one in which Arnold Schwarzenegger beat out Larry Flint and Gary Coleman). In case you’re not familiar with the current crop of candidates looking to take Rob Ford’s seat, the options include a white supremacist, a dude who almost made marijuana legal in Canada, the conveniently named Al Gore, one of the geniuses who wrote the classic Toronto anthem “Spadina Bus,” and a dread-headed hippie who uncomfortably misappropriates Rastafarian culture.

Toronto’s crowded field of unlikely candidates got a lot more erotic after Nikki Benz, adult-film actress, announced her candidacy last month. Benz is a Torontonian through and through. She grew up in Etobicoke—the home of current mayor Rob Ford—before jetting to Los Angeles in 2004 to seek a fame and fortune by putting P’s in her V on camera. Her films like Anal Dream Team andMeet the Fuckers 6 have made her a commercial and critical favorite in the world of porn, resulting in seven Adult Video News award nominations.

Nikki sent the press into a tizzy a few weeks ago when she introduced her Brazzers-backed candidacy with the deliriously clever “Trade in Your Ford for a Benz” campaign slogan—but then she ran into some trouble when the driver’s license she used to register was expired and the city prevented her from registering her official candidacy. She’s in the process of resolving the issue now.

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Rob Ford: The Musical could very well be terrible, but we went down to check out the auditions for the role of Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor anyway.

Rob Ford: The Musical could very well be terrible, but we went down to check out the auditions for the role of Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor anyway.

We Made a Cartoon about the Rob Ford Jailhouse Beating Allegations
Rob may have just smoked crack with his sister, whose ex-boyfriend is suing him for assault.

We Made a Cartoon about the Rob Ford Jailhouse Beating Allegations

Rob may have just smoked crack with his sister, whose ex-boyfriend is suing him for assault.

We Interviewed the White Supremacist Running for Mayor of Toronto
Don Andrews is a self-described white racist and the leader of the Nationalist Party of Canada. He co-founded far-right white supremacist group the Edmund Burke Societyand waged war with Toronto’s communists in the 70s. His front door and car have been bombed by various resistance groups, and a house he owned was burned down while he was on vacation in Mexico. Don’s other claims to fame include being the first person in Canada to be charged with promoting hate and having Toronto’s laws changed specifically because of him—he came in a distant second in the 1974 mayoral elections, but that scared council enough to change the law that said the runner-up would take the mayor’s place if the position became vacant between elections. (Today, council gets to choose the replacement.) He’s run multiple times since then, his previous attempt being in 2010.
After hearing that he had put his name in the race for the 2014 election, I decided to visit Don in his home near the Beaches neighborhood. As a little Asian girl who used to hang out with anarchists, you can imagine that I was a little apprehensive meeting the guy at his home. What I wasn’t expecting was to be welcomed into the house by a heavily limping 71-year-old man who’s fairly well versed in history and geography. Nor did I expect to have a civil, in-depth interview with Andrews that lasted over an hour. The following is an edited excerpt of our conversation.
VICE: On Wikipedia, you’re identified as a Neo-Nazi. Do you agree with that label?Don Andrews: Well what does “neo” mean? “New” or “like”? I’m not a new Nazi, OK? [Am I] like a Nazi? Well the Nazis were imperialists. They took off and tried to subjugate other peoples. I’m against that. I’m a nationalist. So I’m a racist, I’m a white racist, I’m a white nationalist, and I’m just a man.
When did you start developing a white-supremacist attitude?Well, let’s say over a period of time where I saw the city changing. The whites were disappearing, and anyone who complained about it was immediately attacked as being something worse than a war criminal. A racist. Not to be a racist is to be an idiot. Everyone’s a racist, and if they say they’re not they’re liars.
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We Interviewed the White Supremacist Running for Mayor of Toronto

Don Andrews is a self-described white racist and the leader of the Nationalist Party of Canada. He co-founded far-right white supremacist group the Edmund Burke Societyand waged war with Toronto’s communists in the 70s. His front door and car have been bombed by various resistance groups, and a house he owned was burned down while he was on vacation in Mexico. Don’s other claims to fame include being the first person in Canada to be charged with promoting hate and having Toronto’s laws changed specifically because of him—he came in a distant second in the 1974 mayoral elections, but that scared council enough to change the law that said the runner-up would take the mayor’s place if the position became vacant between elections. (Today, council gets to choose the replacement.) He’s run multiple times since then, his previous attempt being in 2010.

After hearing that he had put his name in the race for the 2014 election, I decided to visit Don in his home near the Beaches neighborhood. As a little Asian girl who used to hang out with anarchists, you can imagine that I was a little apprehensive meeting the guy at his home. What I wasn’t expecting was to be welcomed into the house by a heavily limping 71-year-old man who’s fairly well versed in history and geography. Nor did I expect to have a civil, in-depth interview with Andrews that lasted over an hour. The following is an edited excerpt of our conversation.

VICE: On Wikipedia, you’re identified as a Neo-Nazi. Do you agree with that label?
Don Andrews: Well what does “neo” mean? “New” or “like”? I’m not a new Nazi, OK? [Am I] like a Nazi? Well the Nazis were imperialists. They took off and tried to subjugate other peoples. I’m against that. I’m a nationalist. So I’m a racist, I’m a white racist, I’m a white nationalist, and I’m just a man.

When did you start developing a white-supremacist attitude?
Well, let’s say over a period of time where I saw the city changing. The whites were disappearing, and anyone who complained about it was immediately attacked as being something worse than a war criminal. A racist. Not to be a racist is to be an idiot. Everyone’s a racist, and if they say they’re not they’re liars.

Continue

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.

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.
Continue

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.

Continue

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.
Continue

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.

Continue

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.
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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.

Continue

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. 
Continue

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. 

Continue

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.
Continue

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.

Continue

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