Several Canadian media outlets reported they have tracked down the house featured as the backdrop in a photo that appears to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford posing with suspected drug dealers
The image pictures Ford, grinning, with his arm around Anthony Smith, 21, who was shot dead outside of a Toronto nightclub in March.
Ford has refused to comment on the house, located on Windsor Road in Toronto.
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CBC News confirmed that an assault happened at the Windsor Road home days after media outlets were approached about buying a video allegedly showing Ford smoking crack cocaine. Both the Toronto Star and Gawker.com wrote stories saying that journalists on their staff had viewed the video of the mayor smoking crack
Gawker.com tried to raise $200,000 to buy the video through crowdsourcing, or online fundraising. But subsequent Gawker articles let everyone contributing to that fund know the people who originally offered the video for sale now say that it is “gone.”
Media reports say neighbors of the Windsor Road house say they’ve suspected drug activity there for some time. Police confirmed there was an assault at the house on May 21, but said they collected no information that the intruder who entered the home was looking for a video.
Ford has vehemently denied using crack cocaine and said he is not addicted to the substance.
The allegations and unsubstantiated video claims led many to question how the media covered the story. The Current on CBC Radio pulled in a panel to talk about the media’s behavior, including a reporter and a chair of the Ryerson University School of Journalism.
“It’s interesting to me that people believe there is some mass conspiracy
between two organizations and three separate people,” Robyn Doolittle, one of two Star reporters who claimed to view the video, was quoted as saying to CBC Toronto.
“It’s fair that people are questioning the things that they’re reading,” she said. “The people who don’t believe it, maybe won’t believe it even when they’re confronted with the video.”
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