(Update) We Are Raising $200,000 to Buy and Publish the Rob Ford Crack Tape

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. The owners of this video fear for their safety, and want enough money to pay for a chance to get out of Toronto and set up in a new town. Their fear is not entirely unwarranted. Rob Ford is a powerful if buffoonish man, and he was wrapped up in a drug scene that purportedly involved many other prominent Toronto figures.

What Will We Get? 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.

How Does This Work, Exactly? We're using Indiegogo. We've 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.

What If This Whole Thing Goes South? We are mindful that people who hang out with and surreptitiously record crack-smoking mayors may not always be reliable. The people we've been dealing with have so far honored every commitment they've made. And they have pledged to sell it to us for $200,000 if this Crackstarter works. But if they 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.

So go here and sign up. Be a part of (Canadian) history! And I promise you—this is a pretty great video of a mayor smoking crack cocaine.

Update: The Crackstarter has just reached $19,000 and is steadily climbing to our goal. Be part of the dream.

Update: Make that $45,000. Don't do crack.

Update: As of the morning of Sunday, May 19, with nine days to go, we've raised $63,500.

Update: This is an exciting one. We have just updated the Crackstarter to include some new perks, depending on how generous you're feeling. They are:

For $75: A Public Thank You. We'll publicly thank you from the Gawker Twitter account, unless you'd like to remain anonymous. All your friends will know how cool you are!

For $150: Signed Canadian Flag. Every $150 donor gets a Canadian flag defiled by Gawker owner Nick Denton's signature. Own a piece of history. (Only available if the video purchase is consummated.)

For $200: Commemorative Print. If you donate $100 or more, you'll receive a limited-edition hand-drawn digital painting of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine by Gawker art director Jim Cooke. (Only available if the video purchase is consummated.)
For $1,000: Dinner with the Gawker Staff. Donors of $1,000 or more will be invited to a dinner with the staff of Gawker at Public restaurant in New York City, date and time to be determined. (You'll have to get yourself to New York; only available if the video purchase is consummated.)
For $10,000: The Rob Ford Crack iPhone. Donate $10,000 and we'll give you the actual iPhone that was used to record the video. This perk is, of course, contingent on the deal actually happening as we hope. There's a chance that the owners will deliver the video but not the phone. There's only one, so first to donate $10,000 gets it.
Update: The Rob Ford crackstarter has just his $80,000. Act now and you could get a Canadian flag signed by Nick Denton.

[Image by Jim Cooke.]