Gawker Raises $200K On Indiegogo To Buy Purported Toronto Mayor Cracksmoking Video

Can crowdfunding campaigns for celebrity sex tapes be far behind?

In what seems like a watershed moment for the crowdsourcing industry, ordinary citizens can now dictate the news they want — with their wallets.


Gawker, the muckraking web magazine with a taste for exposing vice, successfully reached out to their fans in order to purchase an alleged video of Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack. Reaching the 200K goal on Monday, the magazine, which dubbed the Indiegogo campaign “Crackstarter,” now has the money demanded by the anonymous seller for the short recording that proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is indeed Ford smoking crack out of a pipe. The only question is: will the seller actually give up the goods?

While Gawker has the money in hand, the would-be seller has disappeared, and for now, the deal appears off the table. Of course, the tape’s authenticity is not in doubt — John Cook, the editor-in-chief for Gawker, has seen the tape and details it 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 [sic] 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 … 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.


Gawker, displaying a “Good Guy Greg” vibe, has promised to donate the crowdsourced funds to a substance abuse charity if the tape is no longer available for purchase. Of course, that doesn’t satiate our quenchless thirst for gossip, so maybe the funds would be better spent on buying a hidden camera and some more crack for Rob Ford?

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