OTTAWA, Ontario — Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto has long been dogged by controversy over his often boorish behavior and less than diligent attention to work.

On Friday, Ford faced his greatest political test following two reports he is seen in a video apparently using crack cocaine.

The Toronto Star and the website Gawker reported Thursday night that they were shown the video on a smartphone by two men who were trying to sell it.

The Star, which said two of its reporters had watched the recording, reported it was made by a man who said he had sold crack to Ford.

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Ford called the accusations of crack use “ridiculous.”

The Star report said the 90-second video shows Ford inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe.

While the episode appears to mirror the scandal that brought down Mayor Marion Barry Jr. of Washington, D.C., in 1990, there are major differences. The videotape of Barry smoking crack in a hotel room came from law-enforcement surveillance. The Star noted it was unable to authenticate the video it viewed of Ford, which was produced by the drug dealers. The newspaper and Gawker declined to buy the video.