Gawker's "Crackstarter" Reaches Goal

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 28 2013 10:08 AM

Gawker's New "Crackstarter" Cash Appears Increasingly Destined for Charity

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is swarmed by reporters as he enters his offices at Toronto City Hall.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is swarmed by reporters as he enters his offices at Toronto City Hall on May 17, 2013

Photo by Brett Gundlock / Reuters

Over the holiday weekend, Gawker's crowd-funded "Crackstarter" campaign crossed the $200,000 mark before its self-imposed deadline, ensuring that those who pledged the cash will have to pony it up. But, as we explained on Friday, that doesn't necessarily mean that the money will be used to buy the cellphone video of what Gawker and the Toronto Star say is Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. That's because at some point after the campaign began, Gawker lost contact with the man who holds the tape, making it more or less impossible to make the handoff unless things change.

The latest word from the website offers little to suggest the deal will go down as originally planned: "We have had no further contact with the people we believe to have custody of this video since the last update," Gawker explained Monday. In the event the deal doesn't go through, Gawker has promised to donate the cash—$201,254—to a TBD Canadian nonprofit that addresses substance abuse issues.

Advertisement

Ford, meanwhile, appears to have grown increasingly confident that the video in question either never existed in the first place—or doesn't exist any longer. The controversial mayor originally semi-denied the allegations, telling reporters as he left his home the morning after the story broke that the reports were "just ridiculous," and adding, "It's another Toronto Star ...," before trailing off, referring to Canada's largest daily newspaper and an outlet that has previously written about his alleged substance abuse problem. Ford then declined to address the matter any further until last Friday when he called an afternoon press conference to deny that he smokes crack. "As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have not seen, or does not exist," he said. Then later on his weekly radio show, Ford offered his strongest comments to date about the video after being asked about it by a listener: "There’s no video, so that’s all I can say. You can’t comment on something that doesn’t exist."

Update: The Toronto Star, meanwhile, has the latest on the police investigation into the tape.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.