TORONTO – We’re not supporting criminal activity, only democracy.
So says Danea Ringelmann, the co-founder of the website Indiegogo, as she defended a successful "Crackstarter" crowdfunding campaign by the U.S. gossip website Gawker that raised $200,000 to buy Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s alleged crack cocaine video.
“That campaign really just speaks to what crowdfunding is about, which is giving the power to people to decide what matters to them and to fund what matters to them,” Ringelmann told the Canadian Press newswire service Wednesday.
Gawker editor John Cook turned to Indiegogo to successfully raise $200,000 to purchase the infamous Rob Ford crack video from Toronto drug-dealers. But despite having money in hand, Cook eventually revealed he had lost contact with the auctioning crack pushers.
Despite that setback, Ringelmann said no complaints had been received about the crowdfunding drive, including from the Toronto mayor’s office.
Instead, like a MacGuffin, the public was waiting for the alleged video to surface to help solve the mystery, and widening political scandal.
“The campaign was for a reporter at Gawker, the funds were going to a reporter at Gawker, and I think in general there was interest among the community that people wanted this video to come to life,” Ringelmann said.
At the same time, where Gawker failed, Toronto police have persisted by going in search of the drug dealers that allegedly supplied Ford with a supply of crack cocaine and captured him on video.
A series of police raids and arrests in the city late last week captured two men, Muhammad Khattak and Monir Kassim, who appeared in a photograph released by Gawker in mid-May alongside the Toronto mayor.
Police sources have also told the Toronto media that they were aware of the allegations surrounding the Ford crack-cocaine video before the revelations appeared last month in Gawker and the Toronto Star newspaper.
But absent the video, Ford has mostly fended off media questions in the face of the mounting scandal.