The website Gawker has launched an appeal to raise $200,000 to purchase a video alleged to show Rob Ford ,the mayor of Toronto, smoking crack cocaine.
So far The Crackstarter, as Gawker puts it, has reached $19,000 and is steadily climbing to the goal. "Be part of the dream," says Gawker.
The mayor has strongly denied the allegations telling reporters the claims were "ridiculous".
The Drum suspects Gawker's ploy to be something of a wind-up (we could be wrong) . This is how the website explains the appeal :
"As you may have heard, Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, smokes crack cocaine. We've seen a video of him smoking crack cocaine, and the people who have the video would like to sell it. Through the miracle of crowdfunding, you can help. Please consider donating to the Rob Ford Crackstarter.
"How Much Do We Need? $200,000. That's what the owners of the video want. That sounds like a lot of money. The good people at Indiegogo believe that, with the appropriate amount of virality, that goal is achievable.
"Christ, That's a Lot of Money. Yes, it is. But they've got the video! And it's not all about greed, though of course most of it is. "
Gawker says that what they will get is a crystal clear, well-lit video of the mayor of Toronto smoking crack cocaine, published on Gawker for the world to see.
"We will also be throwing in some perks, for specific donation amounts. But the main thing is the video of the mayor of Toronto smoking crack cocaine."
Gawker says they are using Indiegogo and have set a target of $200,000, to be reached within 10 days.
"If we reach the target, we get the money. If we don't reach the target, you get your money back. If we do reach the target, we will pay the money to the people who have the video. They will give us the video. We will publish the video. You will watch the video."
If the video vendors disappear, or sell it elsewhere, "We will donate every penny we receive to a Canadian non-profit that helps people suffering from addiction and its consequences."
Gawker urges readers to sign up and be a part of (Canadian) history, adding, " I promise you—this is a pretty great video of a mayor smoking crack cocaine."
We'll let you know how they get on.