Toronto mayor Rob Ford told me crack claim a lie, says brother
US comedians make Rob Ford butt of jokes as Toronto boss continues to say nothing about purported video showing him smoking crack
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's brother said Ford has told him that reports of a purported video that appears to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine are untrue and that the media is trying to destroy his brother.
The story has caused an uproar in Canada, and the mayor and Toronto have become the butt of jokes on late night TV in the US. Ford has to yet to make substantive comments or take questions.
City councillor Doug Ford took to a microphone at City Hall on Wednesday to deliver a long, rambling attack on the media in defence of his brother.
"Rob is telling me these stories are untrue, that these allegations are ridiculous, and I believe him," Ford said. A politician had never been targeted in Canada as much as his brother, who was right to ignore questions from the media, said Doug Ford, who also refused to answer reporters' questions.
"If the mayor stopped and held a press conference every time the media made up a story about him, we would never have accomplished what we have."
Another close ally of the mayor, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, said he had been told by Ford and his aides that lawyers advised Ford to say little. He did not know why that advice had been given.
Ford avoided a throng of reporters on Tuesday in his first public appearances following a long holiday weekend in Canada.
The mayor has repeatedly ignored reporters, but got into an exchange with a local television reporter at a Tim Hortons doughnut shop on Wednesday.
"Are you going to escort me all the way to City Hall too," Ford asked the CTV reporter. "Did you bring your sleeping bag? Did you bring your pillow? Make sure you pick up your pillow and your sleeping bag outside tonight, partner. Do you want me to make your bed for you tonight? Make sure you camp out tonight."
The video has not been released and there is no way to verify if it is authentic or exists. But a reporter on the gossip news site Gawker and two from the Toronto Star said they had watched it, and that it was taken by men who said they had sold crack to Ford.
The Star reported that the video appears to show Ford, sitting in a chair, inhaling from what appears 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 trying to sell it for a six-figure sum.
The Star reported that Ford allegedly made an anti-gay slur against the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and a racist remark about school football pupils he coaches.
The Toronto Catholic District School board said Ford had been fired as coach of the Don Bosco Eagles Football programme after the board decided to "pursue a different direction".
In brief comments on Friday, Ford called the crack video allegations "ridiculous" and "another story with respect to the Toronto Star going after me. And that's all I've got to say for now".
Holyday said it was unfortunate that the city was finding itself the butt of jokes on late night US talk shows. Both Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart poked fun at the mayor and the city on Tuesday.