other countries' embarrassments

10 Times Rob Ford Was Caught on Tape

TORONTO, CANADA- NOVEMBER 15: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Toronto Mayor Rob Ford waks in City Hall after City Council stripped him of some management powers on November 15, 2013 in Toronto, Canada .The council voted to strip the embattled Ford striped him of striped him of authority during emergency situations and the ability to hire and fire the deputy mayor and appoint members of the executive committee. (Photo by Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Getty Images)
Photo: Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Getty Images

Somehow, Rob Ford managed to keep his political career going (in some form) for almost a full year after the world learned that there’s footage of him doing drugs, but thankfully, the Toronto mayor drew the line at two crack videos. On Wednesday night, Ford announced that he’ll finally seek professional help for substance abuse (though, he only admitted to having a “problem with alcohol” in his statement). Obviously, Ford isn’t like most politicians, but the number of times he’s survived being “caught on tape” is still astounding. Here’s a look back at the ten recordings that led to this moment (not including incidents that occurred when Ford knew he was being filmed, like when he cursed in front of children or made a stunning oral-sex quip). It almost makes you feel bad for politicians whose careers are ruined by one measly video of them cheating with a staffer

1. In June 2010, reporters obtained a recording of a phone call in which Ford tells a constituent that he’ll try to score him some Oxycontin for him on the street. “I’ll try buddy, I’ll try. I don’t know this shit, but I’ll fucking try to find it,” Ford said. He explained, “I said what I needed to say to get this person off the phone without provoking him.”

2. On May 16, 2013 Gawker revealed the existence of a cell-phone video that appears to show Ford smoking crack. The video, which was recorded in February 2013, has never been made public, but in November a police report included this description:

Mayor Ford is holding what appears to be a glass cylinder in one hand and a lighter in the other hand while engaged in a conversation with individual(s) off camera … At one point Mayor Ford holds the glass cylinder to his mouth. Lights the lighter and applies the flame to the tip of the glass cylinder in a circular motion … After several seconds Mayor Ford appears to inhale the vapour which is produced, then exhale vapour.

Toward the end of the minute-long video, Ford notices a cell phone being passed in front of the camera. “Ford appears to look into the recording device. He then drops the glass cylinder and lighter on a table next to him; he briefly points at the camera and asks if it’s on,” says the report.

3. A Canadian college student posted two videos of Ford slurring his words as he chatted with a group of young men on his way to Toronto’s Taste of the Danforth Festival on August 9, 2013. Ford told the crowd, “I’m not driving! I’m not driving! I’m not driving.” Eventually the mayor was joined by several “very concerned” staff members and “at least” ten police officers, according to the student.

4. When a caller named Ian offered a passionate defense of Rob Ford on the Toronto radio station AM640 in October 2013, host Bill Carroll suspected it was actually the mayor himself. “Mayor Ford, I know your voice. This is you, isn’t it, Mayor Ford?” Carroll said. “Ian” quickly hung up.

5. A week later, the Toronto Sun and Toronto Star posted a video in which Ford rants about killing someone. “I will — fuck — when he’s dead, you help me make sure that motherfucker’s dead,” he says. “I need fucking ten minutes to make sure he’s dead. It’ll be over in five minutes, brother. If I’m done in ten minutes.” Ford said of the video, “I was very, very inebriated.”

6. A member of the West Toronto Church of God posted a video of Ford dancing in front of his congregation on December 16, 2013. Another parishioner claimed on Twitter that Ford “smells like ganja,” but this was still one of the least scandalous things Ford did all year. 

7. While Ford himself wasn’t caught on tape, on December 4, 2013, Toronto police released transcripts of wiretaps in which alleged gang members discuss the mayor’s heroin use and reveal that he tried to buy the crack tape for $5,000 and a car. In a conversation recorded in April 2013, one man says he’s partying with Ford in a known crack house. His friend tells him to “take a picture of that because of what it would be worth.”

8. A video of Ford waving his arms around and rambling unintelligibly in a Jamaican accent surfaced on YouTube in January. While Doug Ford initially claimed the video was old, the mayor eventually confirmed that it was shot just a few days earlier in a Steak Queen restaurant. Ford said he only drank “a little bit” and wasn’t on drugs.

9. On Wednesday, the Globe and Mail revealed that its reporters have seen a video of Ford “taking a drag from a long copper-coloured pipe, exhaling a cloud of smoke and then frantically shaking his right hand.” It’s part of a package of three videos being shopped by a drug dealer, who claims they were shot last weekend. The paper did not purchase the video, but it did buy a series of screen grabs. Ford’s lawyer, Dennis Morris, notes that it’s impossible to tell what Ford is smoking. “So say for example it was marijuana,” he said. “Would [you] pay more for a video if I told you it was marijuana or crack cocaine?”

10. Also on Wednesday night, the Toronto Sun posted an audio recording of Ford buying shots, complaining about his wife, and making lewd comments about a female opponent in the mayoral race on Monday night. “Give me a shot right now or I’ll f—–g break your legs. I want another one,” Ford says, adding, “If you don’t give me a shot I’m going to knock your f—–g teeth out.”

Later, Ford confirmed he was at the bar, but said he couldn’t recall saying anything in the recording. “I wouldn’t say that — I wouldn’t say the word, ‘jam,’ — that’s not my terminology,” he said. “I am appalled (at what I said). I’d like to verify this (audio) first. Of course, I’m just joking around. Clearly, that’s what I mean.”

10 Times Rob Ford Was Caught on Tape