This is completely serious.
Gawker has started what it calls the “Rob Ford Crackstarter” on crowd-funding site Indiegogo. The goal is to raise $200,000 in order to purchase the video from some young people who may or may not be Somali drug dealers.
Is there a chance of this crowd-funding campaign going the way of “Veronica Mars” and actually raising the money? The frightening answer is yes. Apparently, Gawker editor John Cook has seen the cell-phone video himself and thus vouches for its authenticity. People seem to be believing him on this — with more than a week left in the campaign, the Crackstarter has already raised close to $80,000 of the necessary funds.
On the crowd-sourcing site, there is a textual description of the video, plus a pledge (and disclaimer) from Gawker that this is all legitimate and will hopefully happen as planned. Potential donors will be happy to know that the site acknowledges this could all fall apart. If that is the case, Gawker has pledged to donate all raised funds to a drug-abuse charity.
Why would they do this? As the site explains it, “buying videos of prominent political figures smoking crack inherently involves a bit of unavoidable dodginess.”
So who is this Rob Ford guy? As previously mentioned, Ford is the mayor of Toronto, Canada’s biggest city with a population of 2.6 million. Elected in 2010, Ford was found to have violated a conflict of interest law and was therefore ordered out of office. The mayor managed to keep his position on appeal.
Ford’s first allegation of cocaine use came in March, 2013, when a female politician accused the mayor of inappropriate touching and comments. In an interview, the woman said she thought he was high on something, possibly cocaine. Ford had previously been arrested for a DUI and marijuana possession in Florida in 1999. In April of 2013, Ford walked face-first into a camera and responded with a lot of swearing.
Suffice to say this isn’t the first instance of drug-related embarrassment in the mayor’s career.