The Definitive Guide to Enlightening Information on Vice Media.

Vice, claims in its press kit that it is built around millennial passions, yet their claims remain largely symbolic marketing tactics which disillusion their viewers and impress sponsors and funders like Fox News’s Rupert Murdoch, who certainly do not support youthful progressive ideals or any sort of resistance, because it would render their exploitative business practices obsolete. This generations moment will not be co-opted by the very forces which have brought our resistance into being.

Our resistance means also resisting Vice, and being critical consumers, content creators and reporters. Through unfollowing, rejecting exposure, and not liking or sharing Vice’s content, we will shift focus and dependence from media companies which compromise our movements to cooperatives which reflect our needs and desires.

Image by Paul Killian

Vice media: A self proclaimed “punk” magazine started in 1994 by the white supremacist Gavin McInnes, Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi. The Canadian magazine has since turned into a 4 billion dollar company.

Like Mnar A. Muhawesh said of Vice in this panel on pro US interventionist media coverage “It’s hipster propaganda funded by Rupert Murdoch and Bank of America … the very same entities that profit from war, are funding our leftist liberal media.” Vice capitalizes on its anti mainstream audiences through advertising itself as cutting edge and progressive through “sexy and rebellious content”, while churning out little substance.

“Hipster sweatshop that would make Aldous Huxley roll in his grave…Literally a macbook pro sweatshop…VICE is “cool” so they feel privileged to make Shane Smith more money...” — Review on working for Vice from Glassdoor

Vice’s “punk” image manipulates young people into thinking working for the company is different than working at any other corporation which gets its wealth from financial inequality and exploitative practices. Artists should not seek validation from a dishonest platform which uses unpaid creative labor to expand its corporate media empire.

“they pretend they are part of a subculture of artists, and some underground scene when really they are a company worth 2 billion dollars.”

https://longreads.com/2015/07/07/a-sweatshop-for-trustafarians-inside-vices-williamsburg-headquarters/

Shane Smith, CEO of Vice, has referred to his media company in Williamsburg as a factory of “trustafarians” which is reiterated in the 136 reviews of working for VICE, most of which say you need a trust fund to afford to work there. 9/10 reviews say that the pay is terrible, the company is a revolving door with no room to grow, and you might have to get a side job at Starbucks to help make rent.

Sexual harassment, rampant visible use of drugs by senior and junior employees. Manny new employees come from Ivy league schools and management is smug about paying them fast food server wages for 18 hour days. Hostile cliquey high school popularity contest work environment…Employees find themselves in awkward positions sitting next to other employees who they had sexual encounters while intoxicated at company events. I’ll conclude by saying expect your compensation is on par with an Uber driver while working 18 hour days in a toxic work environment” — Review of Vice from current employee, April 26, 2017.

“…very little diversity among staff yet almost all their videos are about people of color doing crazy or violent things…” — Employee review on Glassdoor.

As a media company made of white wealthy older men exploiting the labor and political ideas of marginalized people for its success, Vice is by textbook definition the patriarchy we are trying to subvert.

A comment someone left on a post about Vice’s lack of diversity.

The exploitative coverage of communities of color as well as people in non-Western countries reinforces the negative stereotypes built by white supremacy.

Almost all of Vice’s “reporting” (often on people of color) is from the point of view of a white male (over 80% of their employee masthead is white, and corporate positions are entirely white). Even Broadly, newer platform, “for women who know their place” is ultimately part of Vice’s vision for a mass media monopoly, and is actually consumed by more men than women.

“We’re the largest new media company, and we’re going to become the fourth-largest or fifth-largest, or maybe the third-largest [mainstream media company]. I don’t think it’s any secret that you’re going to see a bloodbath in the next 12 months of digital, mobile and terrestrial.”- Shane Smith, CEO of Vice Media.

“How VICE media’s new platform Broadly STOLE my Caramel Curves project!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Broadly is supposed to be a station that VICE created to empower women. Broadly was allegedly created for women, by women and about women. They proudly boast about how they are feminists and are bringing women together. Don’t let this camouflage fool you like it fooled me. Broadly is a vulture. A soul sucking parasite that can only survive by leaching every ounce of original content from it’s host. I am a victim that Broadly chose as a host and extracted it’s ideas and original content from.”

Vice’s original founder Gavin McInnes (who has since left the company) has admitted that in 2008 when Vice was critiqued for lack of diversity, he would use Black and female pseudonyms (instead of hiring actual women and Black people).

Vice’s clickbait interview questions center gender and race for women of color (“Why is it so important to give visibility to women of colour?” , “What does the female gaze mean to you?”) while having a mere three percent of women of color on their masthead. This is symbolic of the stereotypes and surface-level conversations Vice uses to exploit ones identity to appear relatable and hide their true intentions of maintaining the status quo.

“It’s libel to say I use my newspapers to support other business interests. The fact is, I haven’t got any other business interests.” — Rupert Murdoch (Owner of Fox News Corp.)

Both Murdoch and Smith have attempted to maintain that their business is somehow not political. Yet both of their “news” brands are for profit entities which were initially and are inevitably financially motivated. Television, magazine and social media markets combined make up a trillion dollar industry.

“The truth is media outlets would not be commercially viable without the support of advertisers and therefore must cater to the political prejudices and economic desires of their advertisers.” — Aaron Swartz.

Vice media profits from the corporations and structures it weakly critiques.

“For us, we embed with Occupy Wall Street, the communists, the young people.” — Shane Smith, 2014 interview with NY Times.

Vice is now owned in part by Fox News Corporation’s, Rupert Murdoch.

For Vice to be bought out in part by Fox News even if it was to “to increase the reach of the platform by all means necessary”, would be like if Occupy Wall Street was taking money from Goldman Sachs to help spread their message.

Through Hearst Media’s relationship with Verizon (a member of ALEC), a number of media corps, including Vice, are connected to the billionaire money that gets fueled into A.L.E.C., a company made up of corporations and politicians who write legislation together to support conservative policies. They are a mouth piece for the Koch Brothers, and are responsible for (but not limited to) eliminating labor unions, suppressing voting rights, anti immigration legislation like SB1070 , lowering corporate taxes, tough on crime laws including the three strikes law, stand your ground (Tray Von Martin), and ultimately the creation of the private prison industry which leads mass-incarceration, and is a contributing factor to the reason the U.S.A. is the most incarcerated country on this planet, despite having the 3rd largest population.

Vice is complicit in the violence and settler-colonialism against the Indigenous people living in North Dakota, through their corporate sponsorship from Bank of America, which has large investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Vice has a business relationship with Bank of America through their Business of Life show.

“Don’t let your struggles be co-opted by corporations that are owned by people that fund the destruction of our earth and poisoning our people. Don’t give permission to these foul corporations to use your likeness or profit from your story.” — Water Protector at Standing Rock.

Vice is also a marketing agency. Vice’s in house agency recently helped create Collectively.org, a platform geared towards eco-friendly progressives. Collectively is also entirely backed by corporate sponsors (all of which Virtue curated) including Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Nestle — companies associated with sweatshop production, water privatization, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Disney now owns 10% of Vice media. Disney is on the list of BDS companies to boycott, which are invested in the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Disney CEO, Bob Iger now sits on Trump’s council. (Vice has also received advertising money from Hardee’s, whose CEO is also on Trump’s council as his labor advisor. “The cooks and cashiers at Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. are the reason Puzder can take home more than $10 million in a single year and live in a plush mansion with movie star neighbors — while his workers like me skip meals to pay our rent and are forced to live in homeless shelters.” Source.)

“VICE has managed to sell mainstream narratives to its anti-mainstream audience.”

Vice has contributed largely to the gentrification of Williamsburg, using it as its “cultural hub” and obtaining a 75,000 square-foot warehouse that the city paid for in tax breaks. The company, which has taken credit for “hipsterdom,” has pushed out local (mostly Puerto Rican) residents, increased homelessness, and has made VICE a factor in the 174% overall increase in how expensive the neighborhood has become in the last decade.

Young people, especially young people of color need to stand up to this hypocrisy so that we can be represented in an authentic way, instead of continuing to give art, interviews and readership to a corporation that makes its money off of the oppression of poor people, people of color, people in non-European countries and people in occupied spaces.

We ask that you please acknowledge that Vice (along with all of its subsidiary brands) is a structurally unsound multi-billion dollar corporation run by wealthy men with ties to industries that profit off capitalism, slave labor and violence, and that they can afford to pay us. Our clicks, image and work for Vice directly translates financially when they present all of this information for ad revenue. Be aware and be critical.

And ask yourself, what does real reporting look like? What happened to the 400 underground presses that came about in the 1970’s, which circulated widely without social media or corporate donors? Many were put out of print because of lack of resources and funding. Rupert Murdoch was around then but had no interest in funding them and vice versa.

There is no way that Vice is having money thrown at it because its groundbreaking journalism…It’s because Vice is agreeing to sell mainstream narratives with a hipster twist.

FAQ

“I have been fucked over by Vice countless times/ Vice is fucked up, but how else do I get paid?”

Okay. Is this your main source of income? (A lot of times this is a hypothetical question and the person has in fact never been paid by Vice, or counts exposure as payment because it has been so normalized.) There are different ways of participating in the strike. If you insist on working with Vice, then don’t censor yourself; share this content and participate in the actions around Vice and be transparent about your role. We will understand.

which brings us to our next question…

“What about if you have worked with Vice recently?”

We are all coming from different learning curves and nobody is holding that against anyone! This really doesn't matter, and your participation in the strike wont be any less meaningful. Again, just be transparent.

“Vice has content that nobody else has. Where else will I go for my “I Smoked Weed out of a Copy of Infinite Jest??”

Vice is often times co-opting its stories from much more indie publications and cultures. Realize that there is no unbiased/objective news from Vice, and that the information they are sharing is rooted in a publication founded by a white supremacist (Gavin McInnes), and now funded by multiple (Fox News, Hearst etc.) There are plenty of other media publications to follow. We need to shift focus to grassroots, cooperative media sources which are reporting from and on their communities. Think locally in a global way. Not everything has to be mainstream or universal.

More here.

“Instead of reporting on modern vices, this content company is succumbing to them. Until Vice implements a code of ethics; creators will find no long term benefits by contributing to Shane Smith’s advertorial quagmire. Vice’s GPS is set ‘$$$$$$’ and I think a boycott is an effective way to reroute an imploding brand.”- Daniel Voshart, 2016

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Acknowledge that Vice (along with all of its subsidiary brands) is a structurally unsound multi-billion dollar corporation run by wealthy men with ties to industries that profit off capitalism, slave labor and violence, and that they can afford to pay us. Our clicks, image and work for Vice directly translates financially when they present all of this information for ad revenue. Be aware and be critical.

As a writer

  • Do not do free work for VICE
  • Stop writing for VICE

As an artist / creative/musician

  • Do not do free work for VICE or work for “exposure”
  • Demand compensation for interviews. “Discussing and sharing artwork is part of (my) creative labor.”
  • Demand you are paid for any image that shows up on VICE’s website, magazine or any other subsidiary or outlet under their brand.

As a collective

  • Do not do free work for VICE or work for “exposure”
  • Demand compensation for interviews
  • Demand you are paid for any image that shows up on VICE’s website, magazine or any other subsidiary or outlet under the brand

As a consumer

  • Unfollow, avoid liking or sharing and avoid clicking on anything from any Vice and any of its subsidiary channels: VICE Video, VICELAND, VICE News, Motherboard, Broadly, Munchies, VICE Sports, The Creators Project, Thump, i-D, Noisey, Waypoint, Tonic.
“Better news reporting wouldn’t just be more expensive, it would threaten these business interests. To get the straight story, it’s necessary to turn to independent and community sources which don’t have such conflicts of interest.” — Aaron Swartz, 2006

Other publications to support and (if relevant to you) submit work to that do not rely on or take money from multi-million or billion dollar corporations:

  • La Liga Zine: is an online platform and print zine that showcases the many ways latinxs/chicanxs/latin americans are dissecting their cultural identities through different means of self expression. We aim to show their experiences and highlight the way they de-westernize different areas of life. Moreover, we acknowledge that latinidad is a social construct and that the latinx community is not a monolith and therefore hope to highlight this diversity.
  • Making Contact: Making Contact produces media that analyses critical social and environmental issues and showcases grassroots solutions in order to inform and inspire audiences to action.
  • Roots Action: THIS NEW PEOPLE-POWERED PETITION TOOL LETS YOU START AND RUN YOUR OWN CAMPAIGNS WITH THE TOOLS AND RESOURCES OF ROOTSACTION.
  • Interchanges: Interchanges is a cooperative media network. It is currently the most accessible, inexpensive way to create your website and build an audience on the internet without any coding knowledge necessary. We will never use any programmatic advertising or sell your data in any way, ever.
  • Mask Magazine: Mask Magazine is an online style + living magazine for antagonist youth based in Brooklyn, NY. We launched on February 1, 2014. Mask Magazine is member-supported and advertisement free. You can support the project by subscribing. Subscriptions start at $3 per month.
  • Creative Independent: The Creative Independent is a growing resource of emotional and practical guidance for creative people.
  • Sula Collective: An online magazine, by and for people of color.
  • Blue Stockings Magazine: bluestockings is an intersectional*, feminist**, and anti-oppressive publication.
  • FAIR: Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting is a media criticism organization based in New York City. The organization was founded in 1986 by Jeff Cohen and Martin A. Lee. FAIR describes itself as “the national media watch group”.
  • Hyperallergic: is a forum for playful, serious, and radical perspectives on art and culture in the world today.
  • Media Consortium: The Media Consortium is an international network of over 80 independent progressive journalism organizations. Our members produce journalism that helps redefines the political and cultural debate.
  • * & look at and add to this media google doc

AND OF COURSE, HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!

  1. LIKE AND SHARE THIS ARTICLE!!!

2. TWEET: (Examples)

a. Strike @VICE 4 it’s ties 2 the corporatization and destruction of the earth. #mediaiscomplicit

strike @vice because its no different than its corporate owners: Fox News, Disney, Coca Cola, Hearst, etc. which all exacerbate the very issues Vice weakly critiques! #mediaiscomplicit

b. Strike VICE News and all other media complicit in white supremacy. #strikevice #getartistspaid #viceisviolent

3. FOLLOW: @getartistspaid for updates!!

4. Share any of the images in this folder

WRITTEN BY GET ARTISTS PAID

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*Anti-blackness: Racism is a combination of prejudice, discrimination, violence, and institutions that reproduce racial inequality and injustice, regardless of intent. Our schools, neighborhoods, and criminal-punishment system actively privilege whites at the expense of people of color, even when the rules governing these systems are racially “neutral.” Anti-blackness entails all this and more. It is not simply about hating or penalizing black people. It is about the debasement of black humanity, utter indifference to black suffering, and the denial of black people’s right to exist. Source

**Settler-colonialism: Settler colonialism is a global and transnational phenomenon, and as much a thing of the past as a thing of the present. There is no such thing as neo-settler colonialism or post-settler colonialism because settler colonialism is a resilient formation that rarely ends. Not all migrants are settlers; as Patrick Wolfe has noted, settlers come to stay. They are founders of political orders who carry with them a distinct sovereign capacity. And settler colonialism is not colonialism: settlers want Indigenous people to vanish (but can make use of their labour before they are made to disappear). Sometimes settler colonial forms operate within colonial ones, sometimes they subvert them, sometimes they replace them. But even if colonialism and settler colonialism interpenetrate and overlap, they remain separate as they co-define each other. Source

***Cishet: cisgender and heterosexual. “Cishet children and adults’ identities are affirmed by media, legal documents, population majority, history and other depictions of assumed cis-ness and heterosexuality.” Source

****Neoliberalism refers to a political-economic philosophy that has had major implications for government policies beginning in the 1970s and increasingly prominent since 1980– that de-emphasizes or rejects government intervention in the economy, focusing instead on structured free-market methods, and fewer restrictions on business operations and that the most important class of rights to expand are those of property enforcement, and of opening nations to entry by multinational corporations. In a broader sense it is used to describe the movement towards using the market to achieve a wide range of social ends previously filled by government. It is generally hostile to protectionism, social democracy and socialism. It is often at odds with fair trade and other movements that argue that labor rights and social justice should have a greater priority in international relations and economics.

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sources:

Vice Masthead
Vice Media Kit: https://upload-assets.vice.com/files/2016/01/15/1452894236compressed.pdf