The supposed existence of a video recording of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking from a crack pipe is still up in the air, but at least we know one thing.
'Slurpy' Ford is real, and he's spectacular.
The National Post has tracked down the mysterious figure that became embroiled in the fallout of the crack video scandal - a man said to bear a striking resemblance to the mayor, who a group of Ford supporters tried to recruit to star in a fake crack video.
The whole thing is said to be an attempt to discredit an actual video, which reporters from two separate news organizations say they have seen and allege captures the mayor smoking drugs.
None of this has anything to do with Slurpy, whose real name is Neil, and whose only apparent association is that he is passing acquaintances with a man living in an Etobicoke apartment – where the video is said to have been held for a time.
“I tried to steer away from this right from the beginning. I don’t even look like the guy,” Slurpy, er, Neil told the Post.
[ Related: Rob Ford suspends ‘Dave’ after anonymous phone call ]
Indeed, his resemblance is passing at best. He is a middle-aged white man with thinning blonde hair who is perhaps slightly overweight.
(Check out a photo of Neil at the National Post website.)
He lives in a farming community north of Toronto, runs a small business and loves his dog. How he knows the people involved is, it appears, one thing he declined to discuss with the Post's Megan O'Toole.
[ More Brew: How will Rob Ford controversy end? ‘Slurpy’ the saviour? ]
He told the newspaper his is battling depression and wants nothing to do with the circus playing out at city hall. His nickname, which he hates, comes from a speech impediment he had as a child.
Aw, geeze, Neil. Really sorry we made it an international trend for a couple of days, there.
— Slurpy (@SlurpyTO) May 31, 2013
And while he generally supports Ford's work he does not support attempts by a handful of supporters to create a fake crack video.
“I wanted nothing to do with this from the word go,” he told the newspaper. “I have nothing to do with these people who live in the city and what their ulterior motives were… Their lifestyle is their lifestyle, my lifestyle is my lifestyle.”
There you have it. Slurpy is real, but he looks very little like Mayor Ford. Who saw that coming?
He doesn't want anything to do with this. Now that he has spoken, for his first and last time, perhaps he hopes he will be left alone.
Happy to oblige, Slurpy.
- Arts & Entertainment