05/29/2013 10:50 EDT | Updated 05/29/2013 11:47 EDT

Rob Ford Crack Video: Gawker Gives Deadline For Alleged Tape


The Gawker editor who broke news of the alleged video of Rob Ford smoking crack has given a deadline for getting hold of the footage.

John Cook said Tuesday that Gawker will wait about one month after raising more than $200,000 through a crowdfunding "crackstarter" campaign to buy the purported video of Toronto's mayor.

Ford has denied the video exists.

"If I hear nothing but silence, then I can only conclude that for whatever reasons, the people who have it are no longer motivated to sell it even though we’ve got a huge amount of money that we’ve raised and that was what they asked for," Cook told The Globe and Mail.

As the "Crackstarter" approached it's goal last week, Cook informed potential donours that Gawker had lost contact with the people in possession of the alleged tape.

Cook declined to tell CTV News about how Gawker plans to go about the exchange if they re-establish communication with the sellers.

Cook did, however, stand behind the ethics of buying the footage.

"I think this is a great story for us," Cook told CTV. “I think people want to see this video, I think the people of Toronto ought to be able to see this video."

At the same time, Cook indicated on Twitter that Gawker isn't benefiting financially from Canadian visitors to its stories on the Ford scandal, likely a reference to issues with serving American ads to users.

While Cook remains doubtful Gawker will get hold of the tape, he told the Toronto Sun that he has been told copies of the video have been made. Cook may have been repeating an assertion made by Robyn Doolittle, one of the two Toronto Star reporters who have reported watching the alleged video.

If the video doesn't turn up after a month, Gawker will donate the "Crackstarter" money to a Canadian charity related to substance abuse issues.

That's all Cook is willing to say for the moment.

“You won't hear anything more from us about our attempts to get the video for some time,” he told the Toronto Star. “This will be a very delicate transaction. If the people who are in possession of the video are reading this: Please get in touch with our mutual friend, or with me at john@gawker.com. We did what you asked.”

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