Why VICE Needs a Wake-Up Call

Source: The New Yorker Article by: Adele

If you’re into music, art and news with a provocative, hipster edge VICE Magazine is the perfect fit. Siblings to multiple digital channels, such as i-D and Noisey as well as social media platforms such as Youtube and Snapchat, it’s hard to miss VICE. Yet, as a publication known for tackling diverse controversial topics often in satirical lenses, it’s fairly common for VICE to find itself in hot water. Red flags flood this publication, recent and older articles, with subjects spanning from white supremacy to slavery.

In 1994, friends Shane Smith, Gavin McInnes and Suroosh Alvi created the government funded project first called Voice of Montreal, centering around the punk scene in their corner of Quebec. A few years later, they dropped the ‘o’ turned to VICE and relocated to New York City. Holding onto their roots, the magazine continued to cover music but also began to feature politics, art and photography. Today, VICE is present in 35 different countries and can be seen through multiple platforms, such as their digital channels and social media, record label and TV channel available exclusively in Canada and the US.

Recently, VICE has published multiple articles that are not only “unconventional” but call into multiple oppressive. They join the ranks of magazines like Huffington Post and Daily Mail, to downplay pedophilia by sympathizing with them. VICE is most definitely not the first to write about this topic, but it’s a lot more common than in other publications. Series and interviews are dedicated to pedophiles, downplaying their urges and applauding them for not succumbing to them. While it is important to validate and accept all, pedophilia shouldn’t be part of that category Whereas sexuality and gender is intertwined within identity, pedophilia takes place within the head, as it is a mental disorder. We shouldn’t be normalizing those who prey on children, whether or not they act upon these urges or not, we should be hoping to research more on this disorder in order to help those affected by it. Another subject common within this media platform is the normalization and promotion of white supremacists. People who believe that those who aren’t white are ultimately inferior to the white population aren’t the types of people the media should be glamorizing, yet they are constantly given platforms thanks to VICE. Instead of giving them the chance to speak on their experience, they should be taking the time to talk to those who aren’t given the attention needed by the media, like indigenous people, inersex people and more. Yet, of all these articles, nothing beats Jim Goad’s article that waters down the effects of slavery in America. Written 12 years ago by Goad, who is known to be openly racist, transphobic, sexist, claims in said article that picking cotton wasn’t “that bad of a job” and that white guilt is pointless due to “the small number of black slaves”. Goad’s article’s goal is to appease some sort of white guilt propaganda, but white people have done terrible things to black people and continue to. Whether he likes it or not slavery still has a LARGE effect on the lives of black Americans today and for a white, cisgender man to minimize it is not only appallingly racist but downright undermines the oppression faced by Black and African Americans.

Within its lifespan, VICE Media has contributed to normalizing things such as antiblackness, pedophilia, white supremacy and blatant racism. Although they’ve made efforts to do better, like with their digital channel Broadly, a feminist site filled with articles on intersectional feminism, transphobia, racism and more, doesn’t completely let them off the hook. Why conflict the morals of one of their digital channels by publishing such troubling and oppressing content on their better-known site? Sure, controversial articles sell and interest some readers, but it’s tiring. If there’s ever a time to grow up, in the wake of Trump’s presidency, it’s now. It’s time for them to move on from their careless, edgy, supposedly anti-PC and controversial demeanor and take the time to delete past terribly offensive posts and skip those of the like in the future. Enough is enough.