Timeline of Rob Ford video scandal

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Photograph given to Gawker and the Toronto Star providing "bonafides" for the video transaction.
From left to right: Anthony Smith, Rob Ford, Monir Kassim and Muhammad Khattak. RobFordCrackHouse.jpg
Photograph given to Gawker and the Toronto Star providing "bonafides" for the video transaction.
From left to right: Anthony Smith, Rob Ford, Monir Kassim and Muhammad Khattak.

In May 2013, the American website Gawker and the Toronto Star reported that they had viewed a cellphone video that showed then-Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine and commenting on political issues. Gawker raised money to buy the video, but were unable to acquire it when the seller broke off contact. On October 31, 2013, the Toronto Police Service announced that they were in possession of the video, "and at least one other". [1] [2] The video was retrieved in the course of an investigation of drug gangs, entitled "Project Traveller". Ford's associate Alexander "Sandro" Lisi was charged with extortion for attempting to retrieve the video, in exchange for marijuana.


Reporters from the Toronto Star and Gawker were sent a photo of Ford standing with three people outside the home where the video was shot. The individuals standing with Ford were later identified as Anthony Smith, Muhammad Khattak and Monir Kassim, three alleged members of a local gang. The location was later identified as a house on Windsor Road in the Etobicoke area of Toronto. Khattak and Kassim were both arrested in a sweep of an apartment complex near the home in June 2013. Smith was killed in a shooting on the streets of downtown Toronto in March 2013. The home was identified as the residence of a friend of Ford's from his high school days. [3] The home was attacked in a home invasion days after Gawker and the Toronto Star published the video story. [3]

Ford initially denied both the existence of the video and using crack cocaine. Though several members of Toronto City Council, as well as the editorial boards of the Star, the National Post , and the Toronto Sun , called for him to step down, he refused to do so. [4] [5] [6] On November 5, 2013, Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine "probably in one of my drunken stupors" [7] and to hiding his drug abuse from his family, his staff and the people of Toronto, but pledged to continue on as Mayor. [8] In a series of votes later that month, Ford was stripped by the City Council of virtually all of his mayoral powers, and then-Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly became de facto Acting Mayor. [9]

On April 30, 2014, a second video showing Ford smoking crack emerged. [10] Ford took a leave of absence to enter drug rehabilitation from May 1 through June 30, 2014, during which time Kelly officially served as Acting Mayor. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] Ford did not run for re-election in 2014, instead running for, and winning, his former City Council seat; he continued to serve on the City Council until his death from cancer on March 22, 2016. In August 2016, the Toronto Police Service released the original video of Ford smoking crack, and the remaining charges against Lisi were dropped. [16]


February to March


  • David Price, a long-time friend of Ford, informs Ford's Chief of Staff Mark Towhey of the location of the video at an apartment complex on Dixon Road in Etobicoke. Towhey advises Price to speak to the Toronto Police. [23] Towhey contacts the police, who take a statement from Price. [24]
Councillor Doug Ford, 2011. Councillor Doug Ford at levee 2011 cropped.jpg
Councillor Doug Ford, 2011.


  • CTV News reported that the Toronto Police was investigating the existence of the alleged video prior to the first published reports. According to CTV, persons under investigation discussed the video and the events of the video in wiretap-recorded conversations done in the course of the investigation. [58] Ford was asked by reporters if he’s worried that the alleged video is now part of evidence that will come out in court: "I can’t comment on something that I’ve never seen or doesn’t exist, I don’t know how many more times I’ve got to say this. I’ve answered so many questions, I don’t know if you guys can’t get it through your thick skulls. Seriously?" [59]


  • The Toronto Star separately filed a request to see the information on a search warrant for the Windsor Road house and the apartment in the Dixon Road complex where the alleged video was allegedly stored. [69] The court ruled that documents relating to the search warrants will stay sealed until August 27. At that time, lawyers for the media companies will be allowed to review the documents except for sections that the Crown will keep secret. The documents will become public on September 12 after arguments over the secret sections. [70]

August to September


Chief Blair spoke regarding released documents. He is seen here in June 2012. Police Chief Blair Eaton Centre Shooting Toronto 2012.jpg
Chief Blair spoke regarding released documents. He is seen here in June 2012.
  • Police reveal existence of video
    • In a press conference held after the release of the documents, Toronto Police Chief Blair reveals that the police recovered a copy of the video from the hard drive of a computer seized during the Project Traveller raids. According to Blair, the video's contents are as described in the media reports. Lisi is charged with extortion related to the video and is to appear in Toronto Court later in the day (Lisi's hearing is held the next day). Blair states that the video will come out in court, and that the contents are "disappointing". [95] Lisi tell investigators that Blair "is going to get his." [89]
    • At his City Hall office, Ford briefly addressed the media "Everyone has seen the allegations. I wish I could come out and defend myself but I can't. It's before the courts. That's all I can say right now. No reason to resign. I am going to go back and return my phone calls and be out doing what the people elected me to do and that's save taxpayers money and run the great government that we've been running the last three years." [96]
    • Toronto newspapers Toronto Sun, The Globe and Mail, National Post and the Toronto Star all call on Ford to resign. A same-day public opinion poll conducted by phone of Torontonians showed that, while 44% approved of the mayoral job Ford was doing, 60% wanted him to resign. [97] The news that the video has been found by the police is reported internationally. [98]


Councillor Kelly, 2012 Councillor Norm Kelly (cropped).jpg
Councillor Kelly, 2012
  • Ford appears on 640 CFMJ's morning show with John Oakley. Ford denies using drugs. "I can assure you, I can assure you, Johnny, that I do not use drugs. I drink, don’t get me wrong. I’m the first one to enjoy a few cocktails. Some of the parties I’ve had, you know, I shouldn’t have went to the Danforth, you know, inebriated. I shouldn’t have had a pretty, I would say, a wild St. Patrick’s Day party in my office. I shouldn’t have done that. That’s the past. The past is the past." [108]
A Global News poll is released, its results nearly the same as the previous week, with 59% wanting Ford to step down, while 43% approved of the job Ford is doing. [110]
  • Ford admits to smoking crack cocaine
    • At midday, Mayor Rob Ford admits to have smoked crack cocaine, saying "Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine but … am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago". [111] Responding to why the admission took so long, Ford says "I wasn’t lying. You didn’t ask the correct questions". [7] At the end of the day, Ford held a scheduled announcement, reiterating an apology to the City of Toronto. He said "I kept this from my family, especially my brother Doug, my staff, my council colleagues because I was embarrassed and ashamed." and added "To the residents of Toronto, I know I have let you down and I can't do anything else but apologize and apologize and I'm so sorry. I know I have to regain your trust and your confidence." He concluded the announcement by stating he will stay in office and will run for re-election. [8] [112]
    • Vice magazine publishes an article claiming that Amin Massoudi, Ford's communications director, had hired a hacker to delete a copy of the crack video on a file-sharing site. Massoudi denies the claim in emails to Maclean's and to Vice. [113]
    • The news puts Rob Ford and Toronto in the international media [114] and that evening Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson and Jay Leno all mentioned him on their late night shows. [115]
  • The Mayor's mother and sister, Diane Ford and Kathy Ford, do an exclusive interview with CP24; Diane says that it's "not acceptable behaviour", but doesn't believe he should resign. [120] Former wrestler Brutus Beefcake shows up at City Hall to offer to be Ford's "angel of mercy" and is removed by security. [121] For the third night running, Ford was lampooned by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show ; Jimmy Kimmel once again mentioned him. Dr. Drew Pinsky ( Dr. Drew On Call ) featured a panel discussion, commenting "I’m worried the guy’s going to die." [122]
  • In interviews with CBC's The Fifth Estate and CityNews Toronto's Avery Haines, Mohamed Farah claims he was the person who tried to broker the deal to sell the crack video and says there was more than one video. He says that he was offered cash and threatened by organized crime figures to turn over the video to them. Farah was charged with possession of the proceeds of crime and firearms offences in Project Traveller. [125]
  • A billboard appears along the Gardiner Expressway, in support of Ford; the City announces it will investigate an unauthorized use of its logo. [126] The billboard, which misspelled "responsibility" (spelling it responsiblity) and used the City of Toronto logo without permission, was removed by the afternoon of November 9. [127]
  • Ford appears at a United Way fund-raising event at City Hall, signing 1,000 bobbleheads in his likeness. After bobbleheads run out, Ford autographs t-shirts. Many of the bobbleheads are put up for auction on the Internet. [134]
  • Toronto Santa Claus Parade organizers send a letter to Ford's Chief of Staff, Earl Provost, asking that Ford consider returning to his original decision of not appearing in the parade, suggesting that his presence would be a distraction "from the anticipated fun and enjoyment that children will have on Parade Day." The letter was read the next day on television channel CP24 by Ron Barbaro, co-chair of the event. [135] [136]
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, in 2012. Denzil Minnan-Wong speaks to reporters.jpg
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, in 2012.
  • November 13
  • Council asks Ford to take a leave of absence
    • At a Toronto City Council meeting, Ford admits to having purchased illegal drugs within the past two years. Thirty of the 44 Councillors entered a petition to Council asking Ford to step down. [137] An anti-Ford rally is organized outside City Hall during the meeting. The Council was considering Ford's behaviour and voted 37-5 for Ford to take a leave of absence. Council also voted for Ford to apologize for misleading council; co-operate with the Police; apologize for letter of reference for Lisi and communicate with Council instead of the media. [138] [139] Ford states that "he is not a rat" but pushes for mandatory drug testing for all Councillors by December 1, paid for by himself. Chair Frances Nunziata ruled Ford's motion out of order. [140] Council proceedings were shown live in the US on CNN; [141] coverage including a Ford quote mocking his commitment to substance issues ("I said it wouldn't happen again and it has never happened again at the Air Canada Centre"), was published internationally. [142] [143]
    • Ford appeared to confront Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong on the council chamber's floor, both times the Speaker stopped the debate. Councillor Maria Augimeri separated the two, and Councillor Ford held the Mayor's arm. [144]
    • Judge Nordheimer orders the release of the rest of the blacked-out items in the documents detailing the surveillance of Ford and Lisi. [145] The new content was based on interviews with Ford staffers, who detailed drunk driving, sexual harassment, staffers buying liquor for the Mayor, the Mayor taking Oxycontin and the Mayor consorting with prostitutes. One of the new staffers, David Price, a friend of Ford, was hired by Ford at $130,000 per year, twice the salary of his immediate predecessor. [146] [147] As Doug and Rob Ford leave City Hall, they warn the press to "be careful what you write" about the allegations. [148]
    • An Ipsos Reid poll is released showing that 76% of Torontonians want Ford to step down or resign. Of the 76%, 41% suggest Ford retire from politics altogether, while the remaining 35% agree with the idea that Ford should take a leave of absence before running for re-election in 2014. The remaining 24% agree with Ford staying on as mayor. [149]
  • November 14
    • Ford threatens legal action against his former staffers and a waiter at the restaurant of the 2012 St. Patrick's Day night party, calling their allegations "outright lies, not true." [150] Ford also specifically denied the allegations of sex and a comment about oral sex made to a staff member, and that a woman who attended the St. Patrick's Day night party was a prostitute. "It hurts my wife when they call a friend of mine a prostitute. Alana is not a prostitute. She's a friend. And it makes me sick how people are saying this." He added "The last thing is (former staffer) Olivia Gondek. It said I want to eat her pussy. I've never said that in my life to her. I would never do that. I'm happily married. I've got more than enough to eat at home." [151] [152]
    • Ford later admits to "driving after taking a drink". "I might have had some drinks and driven, that's absolutely wrong", he told the National Post's Natalie Alcoba. To other reporters, Ford said "I’m not perfect. Maybe you are but I’m not. I'm sure none of you have ever had a drink and gotten behind the wheel." [153]
    • Ford's remarks are made while wearing a Toronto Argonauts football jersey. The club issues a press release stating that it is "disappointed" that Ford made his remarks while wearing the jersey. [154]
    • Ford makes a noon-time appearance before the press with his wife Renata. He apologizes for the graphic language he used and asks that the media leave his family alone. [155] Ford also states that he is getting assistance from "health-care professionals." Councillor John Parker states that Ford was using his wife "as a convenient prop". [156]
    • An Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by CTV News, CP24 and Newstalk 1010 Radio finds that 62% of Toronto voters would not vote for Ford under any circumstances. In potential municipal election scenarios against Olivia Chow, John Tory, Karen Stintz and David Soknacki, Ford would place no better than third. Ford's job approval rating among Torontonians did not change at 40%, and was higher in the former suburbs of Etobicoke and Scarborough. [157] [158]
    • The Sun News Network cable television network announces that Rob Ford and Doug Ford will host a new Ford Nation television show, starting, November 18, 2013. [159]
    • Ford Motor Company tells Bloomberg News reporters that they did not authorize Mayor Ford's use of their logo in Ford Nation t-shirts. [160]
    • Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announces that the Government of Ontario is ready to intervene if City Council is unanimous in requesting it, and if all three provincial parties agree. The intervention would be in the form of new powers to be used by Toronto City Council. [156]
    • Ford's antics were once again publicized on late night shows by Jon Stewart, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Jay Leno. [161]
    • City spokespeople confirm that school trips to City Hall in the next week will be redirected to the City of Toronto Archives, for safety concerns. [162] [163] [164] [165]
  • November 15
    • Toronto City Council votes to strip Mayor Ford of executive committee and emergency powers. Ford states that he will challenge the action in court. [166]
    • Before the council meeting, Ford gives each of his staff a $5,000 raise. [167]
    • Councillor Minnan-Wong said he was considering the concept of "asking the province to consider the mayor's seat vacant and moving up the date of the election for mayor", but noted he doubted there was an appetite. [168]
    • On Ford's admission of drinking and driving, Newfoundland distillery Iceberg Vodka releases a general statement describing the practice as "unacceptable and inexcusable behavior." Ford is listed in police reports as having drank the alcohol in a city park with Alexander "Sandro" Lisi. [169]
TTC Chair Karen Stintz.jpg
Karen Stintz
John Tory.jpg
John Tory
Olivia Chow.jpg
Olivia Chow
The four candidates in the election scenarios.
  • Exiting Deco Labels on Saturday evening, Councillor Ford sees what he believes is a Toronto Police surveillance vehicle; this incident is mentioned on Ford Nation, filmed the next day. [171]
Councillor Pam McConnell, 2011. Pam McConnell Toronto Councillor 2011.jpg
Councillor Pam McConnell, 2011.
  • Judge Nordheimer denies the request by Khattack to view the 'crack' video. Nordheimer describes the two videos in the possession of the police as separate but "what is revealed in the second video relates back to the first video". [176]
  • After the council meeting, Ford does an interview with CBC's Peter Mansbridge, stating he is finished with drinking. "If you don't see a difference in me in five months, then I'll eat my words. I've had a come-to-Jesus moment if you want to call it that. I've let my dad down, I know he's upstairs watching this." [177]
  • The first episode of Ford Nation, featuring Rob and Doug Ford, debuts on Sun News Network. [178] Its first airing is seen by 155,000 viewers, with another 45,000 in a repeat Western Canada broadcast, and 65,000 video downloads. It becomes the all-time top rated program on the network. The Ford brothers state they believe they remain under police surveillance. [171]
  • Sun News Network cancels Ford Nation after one episode. The production took eight times the resources of a normal hour on the network. Sun News invites the Fords to appear on their other shows, given the record ratings for their program. [180]
  • Canadian government Employment Minister Jason Kenney calls for Ford's resignation. [181] [182] The call caused Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who considers himself 'a personal friend' of Ford, to swear at Kenney and have to be physically restrained by colleagues. [183]
  • Doug Ford tells Newstalk 1010 that he and his brother are readying a YouTube show, for launch around Christmas. [188] He also says that he and his brother have been approached by American production companies about appearing in their own reality TV show. [189]


  • Ford also insinuated that Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale, whom he confronted behind his home is a pedophile, [194] saying "Daniel Dale is in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. He’s taking pictures of little kids, I don’t want to say that word but you start thinking what this guy is all about." [195]



  • A new video surfaces of Rob Ford, intoxicated, rambling in a restaurant in Rexdale about "counter-surveillance" and Police Chief Bill Blair. He uses a heavy Jamaican accent while doing so and appears to utter the Jamaican patois profanity bumbaclot multiple times. [200] [201] Ford later admitted that he was drinking in the video. [201] Ford refused to answer a reporter's question if he was using drugs that night. [202] [203]
  • Later in the day, a second video emerged which showed Ford meeting with Sandro Lisi, a friend of Ford's who has been charged with extortion in connection with the "crack video". [204]
  • Ford's antics were also lampooned by television comedian Jimmy Kimmel. [205]



  • Reporters attempt to get comments from Mayor Ford, who runs through the lobby of Toronto City Hall to his office without commenting on the revelations. Jimmy Kimmel later described it as a "one-man stampede." [218]

April to November


April to May




Ford's mayorship staff

Twenty office staff reported to Rob Ford on May 16, 2013. In the months following the report of the video, eleven staff left his office and were replaced. On November 19, eleven of the current staff were transferred to the deputy mayor's office.

See also


  1. Star Investigations (October 31, 2013). "Rob Ford video scandal: Police have the video that appears to show mayor smoking crack, Blair says". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  2. Pagliaro, Jennifer (September 22, 2018). "Rob Ford confidant Sandro Lisi running for school trustee in Etobicoke". Toronto Star . Retrieved September 23, 2018. He pleaded guilty the following year to threatening, assault and criminal harassment of a young woman whom he punched in the eye. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, on top of 45 days he had spent in pretrial custody. Election rules do not prevent candidates with criminal records from running for office.
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  5. Editorial (October 31, 2013). "City Hall still needs fiscal conservatism ... but Rob Ford needs to stand down". Toronto Sun.
  6. Editorial (October 31, 2013). "Mayor Rob Ford has nowhere left to hide: Editorial". Toronto Star.
  7. 1 2 "Rob Ford : 'Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine.' | Toronto Star". Toronto Star. November 5, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
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  10. 1 2 Rob Ford takes leave as recent drug videos emerge – The Globe and Mail
  11. GreeneStone rehab clinic confirms Rob Ford getting treatment Toronto Star
  12. 1 2 Rob Ford '100% in rehab' after turning back at U.S. border - Toronto - CBC News
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