Gawker’s plan to buy crack video goes up in smoke

Gawker’s strange experiment in crowd-funded journalism has come to an end. No one, it turns out, was willing to come forward to collect $200,000 in exchange for a video of Toronto’s mayor smoking crack cocaine.

The tabloid website, which raised the money through a crowd-funding project known as the “Rob Ford Crackstarter Fund,” will distribute the money to a Canadian charity now that a 30 day window to collect the money has expired.

“I’m presently reaching out to potential recipients to find a good home for the money. Hope to have something to announce soon,” Gawker editor, John Cook, wrote in reply to an email query.

Gawker launched the crowd-funding project after men in Toronto showed him a cell phone video depicting the mayor sucking on a crack pipe and calling the leader of Canada’s liberal party a “fag.” Veteran reporters at the country’s largest newspaper also saw the video but did not report it until Gawker did — Cook has since called Canada’s media “timid.”

The Gawker project resulted in a political firestorm and international embarrassment for Toronto, which is trying to reconcile its self-perception as a cosmopolitan city with the ongoing presence of a buffoonish, crack-smoking mayor.

The video’s fate is unknown. Cook earlier wrote that it may be “gone” and one of the men connected to the video has been shot dead. Meanwhile, a company has released out “Stay Mayor,” a video game  in which a Ford character “dodges the media and crack pipes while collecting money to buy a video “before “The Gawker” does.”