Although few people actually claim to have seen the video, Rob Ford is alleged to have been taped smoking crack cocaine. (The Canadian Press/Chris Young)
"Oh my goodness did you hear about this guy? Yes. The mayor of Toronto, no no this is not good. This is not a good story. This is bad. The mayor of Toronto Rob Ford is in the spotlight right now because it is rumoured there is a video of him smoking crack. It's crazy. Or as our mayor put it.. .hey at least it's not a large soda.... not that crazy." - Jimmy Fallon
Toronto typically gets the attention of the world only when it's a breeding ground for a global pandemic. But allegations the city's mayor might be using drugs have gone viral.
Although few people actually claim to have seen the video, Rob Ford is alleged to have been taped smoking crack cocaine. According to the American blog Gawker and two reporters at The Toronto Star, the video shows what reports have described as an incoherent Mayor Ford lighting-up what they say looks like a glass crack-pipe.
Since the story broke, the mayor has been uncharacteristically quiet... he canceled his weekly talk radio show and only grudgingly addressed the allegations -- briefly -- last Friday:
"These allegations are ridiculous. It's another story with respect to the toronto Star going after me and, that's all I got to say for now." - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Mayor Ford's lawyer Dennis Morris was also concise.
"I don't know whether or not such a video exists but, I think it would be fair for the public to see such a video and make their own conclusions." - Lawyer, Dennis Morris
But those explanations aren't enough for Toronto City Councilor Josh Matlow:
"The story needs to come out. It's a shame that the Mayor hasn't confronted the allegations directly beyond a one word answer." - Toronto City Councilor Josh Matlow
And it's not just councilors demanding more information... even some of the voters in Mayor Ford's electoral base in Etobicoke would like him to set the record straight.
Panel: Steven Sal De Bus / Daniel Alexandre Portoraro
The video is reported to be in the hands of people connected to the drug trade. And they are said to be demanding $200,000 dollars for it.
News of the video and what it allegedly shows was first reported by Gawker. CBC has not seen it and cannot verify its content.
But the editor of Gawker, John Cook, hopes to change all that with a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign he calls "Crackstarter."
"Hopefully if enough people will go to our crackstarter this will come out. I really think it's important that the people of Toronto and Canada and the U.S. and any body else interested in what the mayor of Toronto does with his free time should see this tape and I hope it comes out." Gawker editor, John Cook
John Cook wants to to buy the video and make it public. To do that,Gawker needs to raise $200,000. A lot of people have chipped in already... more than 34,000 individual contributors have donated more than $85,000 so far.
Steven Sal Debus is a business-owner and entrepreneur who says he is willing to give 50,000 dollars to the "Crackstarter" campaign but only if Gawker agrees to show the video publicly at a giant party. Steven Sal Debus was in our Toronto studio.
And Daniel Alexandre Portoraro is a contributor to Huffington Post Canada. He was also in Toronto.
This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins, Jessica deMello, Virginia Smart and Karin Marley.
Other segments from today's show: