Living in Toronto has been an interesting ride these past few years. G20 riots with car fires and substantial damage, headline-catching dismemberment murder investigations, power plant relocation costing over $800M, and now, allegedly, our mayor does crack. Funny stuff, all in all, if we lived in an episode of Arrested Development or Portlandia. But we don’t, and it’s not funny anymore….. by itself anyway.
For those of you who came across this post on a fact-finding mission, see below the video for a timeline of the “Mayor”‘s crack scandal. For those who already know too much and just want to laugh at it, here is Charron’s video for ‘Smoking Crack With Rob Ford’:
March 7: Sarah Thompson (magazine publisher and former mayoral candidate) accuses Rob Ford of grabbing her ass at the CJPAC Action Party on International Women’s Day. She and others purport he was “quite drunk or high on something” and not acting like himself. At the time, “alcohol problems” were the suspected cause.
May 16: Both Gawker.com and local Toronto Star reporters claim to have seen a cellphone video that appears to show Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. The reports cannot be verified. Video is thought to be with suspected Somali drug dealers, who will pass over the video for $200,000 (The Star). John Cook of Gawker.com describes the video as follows:
“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… He is red-faced and sweaty, heaving with each breath. Finally, he finds his moment and lights up. He inhales.”
May 17: In response to questions about the video, Rob Ford dismisses the allegations as “ridiculous” and calls them a Star smear job. Kickstarter campaign is started to buy the video called Rob Ford Crackstarter.
May 18: City councillors begin calling on Ford to address the allegations properly.
May 19: Ford cancels his weekly show on Toronto radio station Newstalk 1010.
May 20: Late-night TV host Jay Leno playfully mocks Ford, saying, to be fair, “there’s not a lot to do in Toronto”
May 21: Jimmy Kimmel and Jon Stewart, make fun of Ford and the scandal.
May 22: Ford’s brother, Coun. Doug Ford, blasts the media and Gawker, and defends the mayor.
May 23: Ford fires his chief of staff, Mark Towhey who is escorted out of City Hall by security. Ford’s office states no reason for Towhey’s firing. One city councilor said it was over a football dispute (as Ford had been fired as a volunteer high school football coach). Other reports claim Towhey was escorted out for telling Mayor Ford to seek help.
May 24: Ford finally speaks more than one word on the accusations, and denies he uses crack cocaine. He takes no questions, but states:
“I do not use crack-cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack-cocaine. As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen, or does not exist.”
May 25: The Globe and Mail runs a cover page article alleging that Doug Ford was a hashish dealer in the 1980s. Doug Ford denies the allegations (but does admit to smoking cannabis in his youth). Dog Ford’s lawyer calls the Globe and Mail’s use of unidentified sources “irresponsible and unprofessional journalism.”
May 26: Ford appears on his weekly radio show for the first time since the scandal broke. He denies that the video at the centre of the scandal exists, and calls members of the media “a bunch of maggots.”
May 27: George Christopoulos (press secretary) and Isaac Ransom (deputy press secretary) quit their jobs. While Rob Ford states the resignations are “business as usual”, The Star suggests he was caught completely off guard.
“In full view of journalists Ford, trailed by a city hall security guard, paced around the mayor’s suite looking into the emptied offices, appearing agitated,” according to The Star.
Also on May 27: Globe and Mail reports that Toronto police interviewed a Ford staff member, and asked them for information about a possible link between the alleged video and a recent homicide. Gawker’s Cook noted that his source provided a photo of Ford standing with an alleged drug dealer, Anthony Smith, who had been murdered in March.
ALSO on May 27: Gawker reaches its fundraising goal to purchase the alleged videotape. Unfortunately, the page states that they have lost contact with the people who possess the tape (and that due to all this attention, it will take a while to complete the “very delicate transaction” if they are ever able to find the sellers again).
May 30: Reports start to surface that Ford told staff members “not to worry” one day after news of the videotape surfaced because he knew exactly where to find that tape. He then reportedly gave them a specific address.
Also on May 30: Toronto Police arrest and charge 23-year-old Hanad Mohamed in connection with Anthony Smith’s murder. (Police had already charged Nisar Hashimi, also 23, in connection to the same shooting).
ALSO on May 30: two top staffers, Brian Johnson, policy advisor, and executive assistant Kia Netajian, resign. Twitter a buzz with Ford staffers dropping like flies.