Toronto mayor Rob Ford has refuted allegations he was caught on tape smoking crack cocaine by claiming he has an identical twin brother.
In an interview this morning with Sun News, the embattled politician affirmed that the video was authentic but insisted that the man doing crack wasn't him.
"I will admit that a man with my appearance is abusing an illegal substance in this video," Ford told AM Agenda anchor Alex Pierson, "but I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that it's not me.
"Few people know this, but I actually have a twin brother named Mike. And Mike and I ... well, we've taken very different paths in life. While I've become the leader of Canada's largest city, he's been battling addiction to all sorts of substances: alcohol, heroin, speed and crack.
"It appears from this video that Mike is back on the pipe. Now I haven't seen my brother in months, so I would just like to say, 'If you're listening Mike, please get help. You have a problem and you need professional care. Just give me or your sister a call. We'll make sure you get into rehab.' "
Magnet for Controversy
Rob Ford has been Toronto's mayor since 2010 and has battled a great number of personal controversies. He was arrested in 1999 in Florida for driving under the influence, thrown out of a Maple Leafs game in 2006 for being too drunk, and accused of racial insensitivity in 2008 by saying, "The Orientals, they're slowly taking over."
Since taking office he's also seen his share of political scandals, including allegations of campaign finance abuse, a lengthy trial for conflict of interest in fundraising, and a bizarre incident where Ford was investigated for placing campaign refrigerator magnets on parked cars.
These latest allegations involve a video seen by the Toronto Star in which Ford is apparently smoking a crack pipe and using homophobic slurs to refer to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
The video has been also been shown to Gawker, a U.S. gossip website, which is currently trying to raise money to purchase the tape and release it to the public.
In a press conference yesterday Ford called the crack video accusations "ridiculous" but offered little in the way explanation. And today's twin brother defense is failing to quell skeptics, since no record of such a person actually exists.
"Mr. Ford, we've done extensive research on your family in preparation for this interview," said anchor Alex Pierson, "and we found no record of any twin brother. No birth certificate, no Social Insurance number, no school records.
"Mr. Ford, do you actually have a twin brother, or is this some elaborate plot to avoid responsibility for your drug use?"
"Quite frankly I am outraged that you would question my sincerity," Ford responded. "This whole controversy is just the Toronto Star trying to use my brother's misfortunes in life against me. It's disgusting. It's pathetic. And when we find Mike and get him into treatment, I expect a personal apology from each and every member of the media.
"I've got a missing brother on drugs who could be God knows where right now. And all these so-called journalists are doing is exploiting family tragedy for their gain."
A spokesperson for the Star said they stand by their reporting and have no plans to apologize.