Rob Ford Scandal: Gawker Identifies Toronto Home Linked to Crack Cocaine Video
TORONTO -- First, Gawker sparked an international media circus by viewing and then losing the trail of a video showing Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking a crack cocaine pipe.
Now, the New York City-based gossip site claims to have identified the west Toronto home where a notorious photo of Ford in a group hug with two men that were part of a recent "gangland-style shooting” was taken.
“Days after we published that photo -- along with an account of having watched a video of Ford smoking crack cocaine -- a resident of that home and his girlfriend were attacked by a man wielding a metal pipe, who had come looking for the video, Gawker has learned,” Gawker editor John Cook said Thursday.
CBC News also confirmed Thursday that an altercation had taken place at the Windsor Avenue home just days after Gawker and the Toronto Star newspaper first reported on the existence of the Rob Ford crack cocaine video in question.
Police reportedly responded to an apparent assault on May 21 after a man forcibly entered the home and accosted two people inside with “some kind of pipe," according to the CBC.
The pubcaster's website added Toronto police have "no information that the suspect was looking for a video," as Gawker and other news outlets claim.
The original May 16 Gawker post by Cook included a photo taken at the Windsor Avenue residence that had Ford arm-in-arm with Anthony Smith, a 21-year-old Toronto man gunned down on March 28 in front of a Toronto nightclub.
Also in the photo was a second man, Muhammad Khattak, 19, who was also shot and injured on March 28.
The RCMP have arrested and charged two men with first-degree murder in the shooting of Smith and Khattak: Hanad Mohamed, 23, of Toronto, and Nisar Hashimi, 23.
The Gawker photo also had local homicide detectives quizzing senior Ford aides about a possible link to their murder investigation.
Gawker has meanwhile closed its Crackstarter campaign on Indiegogo after raising $201,254 from 8,388 people to purchase and publish the now-infamous Ford crack cocaine tape.
Gawker then had to concede that it had lost contact with a tipster that could have led to the owner of the video.
For his part, Ford has continued to issue a string of denials or leave media questions unanswered as the Toronto mayor plays rope-a-dope to stay alive during the unfolding political scandal.