Gawker reporter claims to have seen video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack

Gawker's John Cook was contacted by a tipster who offered to sell him a video of Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack for more than $40K. As proof, the tipster provided a photo of Ford posing with Anthony Smith, recently murdered in a gang-style shooting. The tipster claimed that Ford buys his crack from a dealer who services many of Toronto's elite, including "Ford's longtime friend, people on his staff, his brother, a prominent hockey analyst, and more."

Gawker didn't want to spend the $40K to get the video, though they did send Cook to Toronto, and he claims to have seen it. A CNN source tipped off the Ford people that the video is in circulation, and there the story stands:

Here is what the video shows: Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, is the only person visible in the frame. Prior to the trip, I spent a lot of time looking at photographs of Rob Ford. The man in the video is Rob Ford. It is well-lit, clear. Ford is seated, in a room in a house. In one hand is a a clear, glass pipe. The kind with a big globe and two glass cylinders sticking out of it. In the other hand is a lighter. A slurred voice off-camera is ranting about Canadian politics in what sounds like an attempt to goad Ford. "Pierre Trudeau was a faggot!" is the one phrase the lodges in my mind. Ford, pipe in one hand and lighter in the other, is laughing, and mildly protesting at the sacrilege. He seems to keep trying to light the pipe, but keeps stopping to laugh. He is red-faced and sweaty, heaving with each breath. Finally, he finds his moment and lights up. He inhales.

In one move, the owner stops the video and draws the device back into his pocket.

"You took this?" I ask.



"Within the last six months."

"You're sure it's crack?"


"You've seen him smoke crack before?"

"Yes. Gotta jet."

And he is gone.

Cook reports that someone with a Hotmail account identifying himself as Dennis Morris and claiming to be Ford's lawyer sent him an email threatening to sue him if he publishes. I'd be interested in knowing whether "Dennis Morris" is registered with the Law Society of Upper Canada, but they don't appear to have an online registry.

Rob Ford is one of the worst politicians in Canadian history (really saying something). My nickname for him is Mayor Laughable Bumblefuck. He's weathered some severe scandals during his tenure in office, but I think that this one would be terminal, and may even take down his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, a guy widely held to be the brains in the outfit.

For Sale: A Video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Smoking Crack Cocaine [John Cook/Gawker]

Update: dsac86 says in the comments: "The Law Society of Upper Canada has an online directory, and there is a Dennis Morris registered []. Dennis Morris has also represented Ford on a couple of other legal matters."

(Thanks to the dozens of people who suggested this, emailed/tweeted about it, left me voicemails, and shouted it to the heavens)


  1. The Law Society of Upper Canada has an online directory, and there is a Dennis Morris registered []. Dennis Morris has also represented Ford on a couple of other legal matters.

    1. If I were in big trouble, the first lawyer I’d contact is the one with the Hotmail address. If I was lucky, he’s offer me a portion of a Nigerian prince’s fortune as a bonus.

    2. Maybe the real Dennis Morris refused to be involved and one of Fords staff or entourage did that. Hotmail LoL, seems legit!

    1. Actually not – there’s just a contingent of out-of-focus people wandering the streets of Toronto.  (Apologies to Mitch Hedberg.)

  2. Correction- The guy actually wants 3 figures for the tape, he’s turned down an offer for $40,000

      1. Already to $32,000.00

        Who wants to bet the public can outspend some major media outlets? Hell, the major media outlets should contribute

  3. Sigh, now I can say “at least my town isn’t Toronto.”  Have things really gone so sour in Canada?  I remember idyllic fishing trips in Kamloops, from my childhood.  Was it just rose-colored glasses?  Or was there less bad shit happening in Canada 10 to 15 years ago?

    1. I’m Canadian. Kamloops is nowhere near Toronto. 

      What would you think if during Marion Barry’s court case I’d said: “Sigh, now I can say at least my town isn’t Washington D.C. I remember idyllic trips to Salt Lake City in my childhood. Was it just rose-coloured glasses?”

      Yeah, sounds pretty dumb.

      1. I know Kamloops and Toronto are separated by about 2000 miles from each other.  I was making a stupid broad generalization.

        In the words of Mike Birbiglia: “what I should have said was nothing”

        1. A commenter admitting he was wrong! Is this still the intertubes? BoingBoing is really special.

      2. Please attend to the subtext of the question, which is that a lot of Americans think of your country as a better place than theirs, generally. It was a compliment, of sorts. 

        1. I did mean it as a complement, although it was unnecessarily underhanded and ineptly expressed. I love Canada, or, I love what I’ve seen of Canada (British Columbia).

  4. also, isn’t he a bit big for a crack user? i’m not knowledgeful in this type of things.

    1.  A crack user with money is very different from a poor crack (or any other drug) user.

  5. Although you have a talent for filling the streets with angry protestors that Toronto seems to lack…

  6. and finally, on top of the Ford thing ,not a good week for the conservative brand in Canada this week:

    Senator Mike Duffy has resigned from the Conservative caucus amid controversy over his living and travel expense claims.

    Stephen Harper’s chief of staff still enjoys the full confidence of the prime minister following revelations he wrote a $90,000 cheque to cover living expenses claimed by Senator Mike Duffy, Harper’s office said today

    and this:

    Sen. Mike Duffy attempted to influence the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission’s upcoming decision involving the right-leaning Sun News Network, a source has told CTV News.Read more:

    yes, that’s our Fox News of the north

    and where is Harper during all of this? Well in NYC trying to sell his toxic shit pipeline!! almost forgot! The kids want Harper to stop being a bully! i said, not a good week for the canadian tory brand…

    1. Rob Ford occupies an entirely different wing of the Canadian conservative movement from the Harper administration. I don’t think the Conservative Party will suffer much from Ford’s implosion(s).

      What worries me is that the Ford debacle will actually help the CPC by drawing attention away from Senator Duffy’s disgrace and the Prime Minister’s Office’s direct role in it, which could be otherwise be a very damaging story.

      1. nah, there’s enough outrage in the public for those 2 scandals to have legs. And in Québec, we are “spoiled” by the daily revelations at the Charbonneau Inquiry. The mayor of the second largest city in this province got arrested for gangsterism last week! Yes! We have crooked politicians here too! YIPPEE! We’re as good as the americans!

        1.  Would this be a good time for my to talk about the mayor of Vancouver, an organic farmer who has introduced citywide recycling, greatly expanded bike lanes and a host of other excellent things?  Or would that be too smug?

          1. Sometime Vancouver resident here. Mayor Gregor Robertson talks a good, progressive game, but he and his Vision Vancouver party are really in bed with rich land developers. Poor neighbourhoods and artist’s spaces are getting gentrified left and right.

          2.  Vancouver progressives – letting the perfect be the enemy of the possible since 1960.

          3. That would depend on whether or not you’re prepared to marry me so that I can get Canadian citizenship.

    1. It`s not true that “most“ detested Trudeau in Québec. The PQ government and separatists did, but the Liberals got a very large percentage of the vote in Québec in every federal election when Trudeau was leader – in 1980 they got 74 of 75 seats- and even after the 1982 patriation of the constitution, opinion on Trudeau in Québec was mixed.  Québec is polarised on Trudeau, but he`s not as universally reviled as he is in parts of the West.

      1. well, there’s the 60s Turdeau numbers and the 80s numbers. He wasn’t liked in the 80s. I stand by this.

  7. Apparently the dealer was also a supplier to “a prominent hockey analyst…”

    And that’s how this story will go from atomic to thermonuclear.

      1. I’ve been watching Coach’s Corner for nearly 20 years.  He has never  not sounded like he’s making little sense*. 

         *If you play hockey, what Grapes says makes a heckova lot more sense.   His invisible piano, OTOH, never makes sense.

  8. Remember, Doug’s brains brought us the monorail and the daily weightloss weigh-ins that mysteriously stopped never to be mentioned again. 

    1. “Rob, I know you want to win the weight loss contest, but crack is not the way to do it!”

  9. Ya know, I hate this guy’s policies, sexism, fake-working-class schtick and war on progress as much as the next person, but…..hold on, where was I going with this….?

    That said, I’ll believe the crack-smoking when I see it. And oh boy, do I ever wanna see it.

    1. I agree.  I’m a little disappointed in The Star in stooping to publishing such a sketchily-sourced story.  They added disclaimers, but with something this big, there’s no such thing as a little bit pregnant.

      From what I’ve heard, it might just be true, and it’s certainly in the public interest – but if it turns out to be a hoax, then The Star’s credibility is shot, and all the qualifiers in the world won’t stem the backlash.  

      1. A journo friend of mine worked at the Star with the two Star reporters who allegedly saw the video. Her integrity is beyond reproach, and she vouches the same for her two ex-colleagues. It ain’t looking good for Ford.

      2. They had no choice, they’ve been working on the story for month but Gawker scooped them they had to go public with what they had. Man, I hope someone buys that video soon!

        1. That’s what I figured. But being scooped isn’t the end of the world. If it wasn’t sufficiently strongly sourced to stand on its own before the threatened scooping-to-be, why is it suddenly strong enough now?

  10. I had two uncles who were twins named (I’m not making this up) Elmer and Edwin. My grandfather used to say that they had one brain between them but that most of the time they went out they left it at home.

    Perhaps something similar is going on with the Ford Brothers.

    1. Theory I heard, Doug wanted to be mayor but he was too “slick” their consultants said he’d never win the common man vote, but Rob would, so the family ran him instead. Really our mayor is just Deco Labels.

  11. Not having seen the video, I still must advocate reason — if this video exists, it doesn’t mean Ford smoked crack; the substance in the pipe, if pipe there was, may have been meth, or pcp, or sativa divinorum, or glue, or $BRAINFRY.

    Oh, Rob Ford. What a long strange trip you’ve been.

    1. That’s actually, no joke, Ford’s lawyer’s current line:

      A lawyer retained by Ford, Dennis Morris, said that some details related to the video was “false and defamatory.” Morris told the Star that by viewing any video it is impossible to tell what a person is doing.

      How can you indicate what the person is actually doing or smoking?” Morris said. [1]

      Exactly! Sure, he’s smoking a crack pipe, but you can’t know what exactly he’s smoking!

      1. My BF is a criminal defence lawyer, in Toronto, he said basically the same thing. You can’t prove from a video what he was smoking, there will be no police investigation on this, not until there is more evidence or until someone goes on record and makes a statement. 

          1. Hair test. Doesn’t stay in the blood for more than 72 hours but it stays in your hair until you shave it all off. (And not just the hair on your head Britney, duh!)

  12. Oh no! Not crack! That is a poor person’s drug! That is unacceptable!

    He’s an alcoholic? Oh, no big deal. That happens to ‘normal’ people.

    Rob Ford is an asshole. And all evidence points out that he is also a drunk. Why is the evidence that he once used crack more significant than the fact that he has abused alcohol for years while serving in an official capacity? This is just more War on Drugs hypocrisy.

    If you smoke crack then you are a junkie and the lowest form of life on earth. If you snort lines, then you are just a yuppie enjoying some recreational drugs. If you smoke a joint, you are a stoner. But if you drink scotch, then you can be a CEO or a politician.

    1.  Um, it’s because crack is illegal.  Alcohol isn’t.  Makes no sense, I know, but it remains truth – you must spend time with criminals if you want to smoke crack.

      1. If a person smoked a joint with friends would you hold them to the same standard that you are doing with crack on the association with criminals? Would you consider the marijuana smoker to deserve to be publicly crucified due to associating with criminals? Obama smoked marijuana. Was he associating with criminals?

        1. Canada’s stance on pot is a little more lenient these days. And currently under debate, it’s allowed for medical uses and many political parties support decriminalization. So no, I would not consider someone in public office smoking pot to be the same as the Mayor of the largest city in Canada smoking crack, no. Unless crack has some unknown medical applications that I’m not aware of…

          1. The point isn’t the leniency, it is the illegality. Either you associate with criminals or you do not. There is no grey area here.

            If you smoke marijuana, and if marijuana is illegal, then smoking it with others is associating with criminals by this definition. The same applies to crack. Just because you don’t like crack doesn’t mean that you get to change the definition of words to wiggle out. Marijuana was just one example–I could have used ecstasy or prescription drug use as others. The point that you completely missed is that by contrasting crack with marijuana, I have challenged your idea of what type of criminals are associated with each drug. Is one type of criminal bad and the other not? And should one get a bye while associating with the other type of criminal demands a public crucifixion? And if so, is it possible that you and others feel this way because crack has been stereotyped in racist terminology for most of its existence since you don’t actually know right now what type of criminals that Ford was associating with (but the stereotype certainly helps fill in the gaps)?

            Unless crack has some unknown medical applications that I’m not aware of…

            I love your snark, and its complete irrelevancy. But I’ll respond to this anyways: cocaine does have medicinal applications, which is why it is a Schedule II drug in the US. Now guess which class marijuana is currently in? Research this and then apply your logic to your own post.

          2. You’re telling me crack has medical applications? Please, cite them! You may even use American sources!

            If you used Ecstasy as your example it would be different argument. X/E/Molly/MDMA is not legal either, and so yes, associating with dealers of those would be just like associating with dealers of crack (see also, meth, and “pills” and herion)

            Pot is different in Canada. You can have it prescribed. It’s on it’s way to being decriminalized, 4 out of 5 of Canada’s political parties support decriminalization  so no, it’s not the same as crack/e/h/meth, not at all.

            Tell me more about america while we talk about the mayor of Canada’s largest city, I like learning! ;p

          3. @facebook-1515015318:disqus I corrected myself and admitted my mistake 6 hours before you replied, yet you still insist on harassing me on this irrelevant point? Why? Is it because only by nitpicking can you score a point? Because you want to twist the knife on an honest mistake?

            Why don’t you respond to the point that I made that making a kneejerk reaction on association with criminals due to crack use carries serious racist undertones, especially when you give a bye to users of other drugs? Indeed, this is harder to respond to than mocking a person, yes?

        2.  I tend to apply the same logic I do to any other secretive behaviour.  If it isn’t harming anyone else, and if the person in question isn’t making a career of (figuratively) beating up on others who do it, then it isn’t my business.

          If somebody smokes crack and is in their house and otherwise harmless, I could care less.  If the bullying, aggressive, poor bashing, bicycle trashing, queer bashing ‘tough on crime’ mayor of Toronto does it, then I do have a judgemental opinion.

          When Ford is (finally) a private citizen then he can spiral down the drain at his own speed and I don’t care.  Right now he isn’t, and he has never hesitated to be a thug towards others who engage in victimless crimes.  So let him burn IMO.

        3. Well it’s a custom more honored in the breach than in the observance, but our elected officials should be held to a higher standard of behaviour. I hope I don’t have to explain why.
          There’s no social benefit to publicly “crucifying” a private citizen. They’re free to assume the risks that come with engaging in illegal behaviour. 

          So if Obama smoked a joint before he was elected president, then “no big”, unless he was campaigning on an explicitly anti-drug platform. In that case his hypocrisy affects his credibility.

          But giving up the “right” to break the law is just one of the many sacrifices one should make when assuming the power and responsibility of elected office. At the very least, those we elect to govern us shouldn’t break the law while they’re holding office. And if they do, they should lose their jobs.

          So the issue isn’t “which drug did Rob Ford use?” If he’s doing illegal drugs, or otherwise breaking the law, while serving as an elected official, I think, before any other consequences, he should lose the job for which he’s demonstrably unfit.

          1. If Obama were to use marijuana, it would be wrong due to hypocrisy, not due the level of illegality. It would be wrong because he would be persecuting the users of a drug that he used (which it is).

            The problem with drug use by a politician isn’t that it is wrong just because it is illegal. Legal drugs are often a more significant concern. Look at the example of Boris Yeltsin, a politician who had great potential. His alcoholism destroyed his legacy and squandered the brief chance that Russia had against returning to an authoritarian government. It is unlikely an ‘illegal’ drug used by a politician could ever have had such a destructive influence as what this legal drug did.

            Right now I am far more concerned with Rob Ford’s alcohol problem than what looks like recreational use of an ‘illegal’ drug. The problem with alcohol abuse that these other drugs don’t face is that it is accepted. If you smoke crack or marijuana, you are associating with criminals and therefore must be a criminal yourself and unfit to be a public servant. But if you get drunk, you are visiting a bar and probably surrounded by off duty police officers who are happy to uphold the law.

          2. Interesting. I’m far more concerned that a currently-elected official is committing a criminal offence.

            Where exactly would you draw the bright line between the acceptable criminal actions that a politician can commit and still stay in office and the number or severity that would warrant removal?

            I draw it at zero. Would love to hear your reasons for drawing it anywhere else.

          3. If an elected official were campaigning to legalize marijuana use, I would certainly not have a problem with her using it.

    2. I understand where you’re coming from.  Alcoholism is swept under the carpet, while other drugs sound BIG and SCARY.

      But anecdotal[1] evidence suggests that a cocaine habit might influence behaviour while sober more strongly than alcohol would.  Getting cocaine is illegal, and so the presence of a habit in the first place indicates a certain tolerance of risk.  A cocaine habit can also cause dangerous mood swings.  

      [1] Anecdotal evidence may, of course, be incorrect, but it’s a place to start.

      1. Anecdotal evidence may also be influenced by a lot of lies and bullshit put out by the DEA and police forces around the world. Even things like crack babies turned out to be lies (this one in particular surprised the hell out of me). Seriously, if crack babies were made up, can you believe anything they say?

        1. About the crack babies: true enough. But my major point is that just because alcohol and cocaine are both drugs doesn’t mean that they will influence behaviour equally. That’s an assumption, and it needs to be examined.

        2. But… but… hundreds of thousands of university and job applicants listed “volunteering to soothe crack babies at the hospital” on their resumes under “other interests.”

  13.  Trudeau is blamed by Albertans (who lack a sense of context when it comes to oil issues) for the NEP, which they think is the cause of their troubles in the mid-80s.  To my knowledge not a single Albertan right winger has ever acknowledged the end of the OPEC oil embargo, which killed the price of oil and shut down the AB oilfield.  And which had nothing to do with Trudeau or the NEP (which would in fact have protected their prices somewhat).

    But never try explaining reality to a butthurt oil Albertan.  (I know this as I grew up in the epicentre of AB oil and worked in the oilfield for some time).

  14.  As an American who grew up in the 70s/80s, I’ll always remember Pierre Elliot Trudeau as Martin Short in a bald wig dancing in a low-budget simulacrum of CBGB’s.

    /small-minded parochialism

    1. “small-minded parochialism”: motto of the U.S. of A. (It appears, in very small print, on all of our paper money.)

  15. A guy on a blog said a guy showed him a video no one has seen of a guy smoking something.  The guy says it’s crack.



    1. If you’ll look at the headline, I think you’l notice that BB’s response is a lot more measured than you seem to think it is.

  16. Nothing ever changes:

    Here is part of the testimony of Judge Alfred J Talley, given before the US Senate Hearings of 1926:

    “It has brought the sickening slime of corruption, dishonor, and disgrace into every group of employees and officials in city, State, and Federal departments that have been charged with the enforcement of this odious law.”

    The second biggest business during alcohol prohibition in Detroit was liquor at $215 million a year and employing about 50,000 people. Authorities were not only helpless to stop it, many were part of the problem. During one raid the state police arrested Detroit Mayor John Smith, Michigan Congressman Robert Clancy and Sheriff Edward Stein.

  17. So Antinous, which other laws should elected officials be allowed to break, and still keep their jobs?

      1. Sorry you think that I’m trolling. I’m a federal public servant. If I’m convicted of a Criminal Code violation, I’ll lose my job. Given the power they wield, I think that’s the bare minimum standard that should apply to elected officials as well.

        Your hypothetical pro-pot politician deserves to be out on his ear because, when he decided to accept the office, he swore to uphold a standard of conduct. But mostly, if he can’t abstain from pot use long enough to get the laws changed, he’s too stupid to stay in office long enough to effect the change for which he campaigned. 

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