The Rob Ford 'Crackstarter' campaign has hit its $200,000 goal.
The campaign, started by Gawker last week, to buy a video purportedly showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack from a group of alleged drug dealers who shot the video. The goal was met with 11 hours to spare.
Ford, on Friday, denied that he had smoked crack cocaine. "As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist," he added at the press conference.
John Cook, the Gawker editor who saw the tape and created the campaign tweeted about the campaign hitting its goal.
Well what do you know?
— John Cook (@johnjcook) May 27, 2013
Last week, Gawker explained that it had not been in contact with the people who owned the video.
The Rob Ford Crack Tape has become an object of intense scrutiny and interest in Toronto, and in Canada generally. The owner of the video is presumably frightened and skittish, and it's not entirely unreasonable that he would go to ground. We didn't consider it that remarkable for the first half of the week that he was hard for our tipster to reach. At this point, we have no idea why he is out of touch, or if he even knows about the Crackstarter campaign.
It is not known whether the video will ever surface. Gawker has said that in the event the video is unavailable it would donate the money to a Canadian charity who works in addiction issues. But the Toronto Star's Robyn Doolittle, one of the other reporters who has seen the tape, says that another copy of the video may exist.
"Actually, there's at least one another copy, there might be two other copies," she said.
Twitter reacts to the 'Crackstarter' reaching its goal. Story continues below slideshow:
Many ethical questions had surfaced around Gawker's campaign. The money would purportedly be going to a group of Toronto drug dealers and that the campaign is similar to extortion or bullying.
Over the weekend, the Globe and Mail released an extensive investigation into Doug Ford's past and claimed that the mayor's brother was a drug dealer in the 1980s. Doug Ford called the allegations "disgusting".
On Monday, Rob Ford faced another setback as his press team resigned. Ford also apologized to media for referring to them as "maggots" on his radio show on Sunday.
CORRECTION: And earlier version of this story said Ford's former chief of staff, Mark Towhey, quit his post. Towhey was fired by Ford. This story has been updated.