Mayor hits out at 'maggot' press
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is defiant in the face of allegations there is a video of him smoking crack cocaine and is vowing to seek re-election next year, attacking the media again as a ‘‘bunch of maggots’’.
The mayor of Canada’s largest city, speaking on the weekly radio show he hosts with his brother Doug Ford, a city council member, reiterated that the allegations are ridiculous, but he still has not said whether he has ever used crack. The video has not been released publicly and its authenticity has not been verified.
Reports on the gossip website Gawker and in the Toronto Star claimed it was taken by men who said they had sold the drug to Ford. The Associated Press hasn’t seen the video.
The Star reported that two journalists had watched a video that appeared to show Ford, sitting in a chair, inhaling from what appeared to be a glass crack pipe.
The Star said it did not obtain the video or pay to watch it. Gawker and the Star said the video was shown to them by a drug dealer who had been trying to sell it for a six-figure sum.
When asked by a caller to the show if it was him in the video, Ford responded: ‘‘Number one: There’s no video, so that’s all I can say. You can’t comment on something that doesn’t exist.’’
Ford called the allegations false and said good journalists were ‘‘few and far between’’.
‘‘A bunch of maggots,’’ Ford said, quickly adding that he shouldn’t have said that.
Ford has refused to take questions from the media for more than a week.
On Friday, he read a statement to reporters in which he denied using or being addicted to crack cocaine, but declined to take any questions.
Critics of Ford have not been appeased and have questioned whether the mayor has told the whole truth. Some have called on him to step down, but Ford vowed on Sunday to seek re-election next year.
‘‘I’ll be the first putting my name on that ballot,’’ he said.
Doug Ford is also facing drug allegations after another leading Canadian newspaper published Saturday the results of what it called a lengthy investigation into the Ford family’s past that revealed ‘‘a portrait of a family once deeply immersed in the illegal drug scene’’.
The Globe and Mail, citing anonymous sources who were involved in the drug trade, alleged that the mayor’s older brother sold hashish for several years in the 1980s in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, where the family grew up. Doug Ford, 48, is an influential adviser to the mayor.
‘‘I was not a dealer of hashish in the 1980s,’’ Doug Ford said on Sunday’s radio show.
On Saturday, in an interview with the cable TV news network, CP24, Doug Ford also denied the allegations, accusing the Globe and Mail of engaging in ‘‘irresponsible journalism’’ and trying ‘‘to ruin our family’’.
The mayor has been embroiled in almost weekly controversies about his behaviour since being elected in 2010, but these were the most serious allegations he had yet faced.
The Toronto Star reported earlier this year that the mayor was asked to leave a gala fundraiser for wounded Canadian soldiers because he appeared intoxicated.
During his campaign for mayor, Rob Ford vehemently denied a 1999 arrest for marijuana possession in Florida, but later acknowledged it was true after he was presented with evidence.
He pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and failing to give a breath sample to police.
While in office, he has been accused of flouting conflict of interest rules and making obscene gestures at residents from his car.
The controversy has drawn comparisons to the 1990 arrest of then-Washington Mayor Marion Barry, who was videotaped smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room during an FBI sting operation.
Barry served six months in federal prison on a misdemeanor drug possession conviction butlater won a fourth term as mayor in 1994.