05/17/2013 03:25 pm ET Updated May 21, 2013

Gawker Seeks To Buy Video That Allegedly Shows Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Smoking Crack

A political firestorm was ignited after a secret video was shown to reporters that allegedly shows Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack, and now Gawker has started a crowdfunding campaign to make the video public.

Although Ford called the allegations ridiculous, and Ford's lawyer has called Gawker's report "false and defamatory" and threatened legal action, the website is pushing ahead to bring the video to light.

The only problem? It's going to cost $200,000.

That's because the video's owners, who were described to the Toronto Star as Somali men involved in the drug trade, are asking for six figures before they'll hand it over -- purportedly so that they can skip town and move west to Calgary.

The video's owners are apparently not going to take less than that sum for the tape: They've already refused a $40,000 offer from an unnamed Canadian news outlet, an anonymous tipster working with the video's owners told Gawker.

Here's where you come in: If you donate $1 to Gawker's crowdfunding campaign -- and 199,999 other people also donate just $1 (although you can donate as much as you like) -- you'll help to bring the mysterious crack-smoking video to an inquisitive public. (Or that's the hope, anyway.)

As with most crowdfunding efforts, if the $200,000 mark isn't reached, you'll get your cash back.

While the ethics of this whole situation are admittedly pretty shady, as things stand, Gawker's effort is certainly a novel way to bring the evidence before the public so that we can judge for ourselves whether it's Ford in the video or not.



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