Columbia Journalism Review recently published an article about Vice Media featuring and quoting me about these two stories I wrote back in 2012 for Gapers Block.
Vice has also taken flak for apparently not telling documentary subjects their participation would be used in content sponsored by a company. In one ironic example, a 2012 video about Chicago activists who stop gang fights was sponsored by a videogame whose slogan was “Revenge solves everything.” After Chicago reporter Jason Prechtel outed the story, Vice pulled the video from its website.To review, Vice created a two-part documentary about a local violence prevention/intervention group called CeaseFire. Earlier that year, the group was the subject of a critically-acclaimed documentary for PBS's Frontline called The Interrupters (which you can view here).
In contrast, when I reached out to Charles Davis, the short-lived former Vice associate editor who handled the controversial NFL boycott piece, he said he still does not know why his stories were killed. Similarly, Jason Prechtel of Chicago web magazine Gaper’s Block said Vice never fully answered his questions about the gang violence interrupters documentary that was sponsored by “Dishonored,” a violent game whose main character is seeking vengeance. At the time, Vice did not respond publicly to claims from the group, Cure Violence, that it hadn’t been told the documentary would be used to promote a videogame. “Vice’s use of a ‘communications associate’ and press spokesperson instead of letting me speak to the filmmakers involved in [the sponsored Vice website] Eye For an Eye is exactly the sort of move you’d expect from a public relations firm, rather than a news outlet that believes in transparency and accountability,” Prechtel wrote in an email to CJR.
Vice's two-part Chicago, Interrupted series, however, had an ulterior motive: to promote a video game with the trademarked tagline "Revenge Solves Everything."
As I've previously mentioned, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's brother, Ari, has financial ties to Vice Media.
From their still-existent branded content website, Eye For An Eye:
In support of Dishonored, which shelves October 9th, VICE and Bethesda Softworks have partnered to create a unique program based entirely on the art of revenge.Technically, they were removed from Vice's webpages back then.
Dishonored is an immersive first-person action game that casts you as a supernatural assassin driven by revenge
But after checking 5 minutes ago, you can still watch the two-part series online:
Why we can still view them today is a question I'll let you web sleuths figure out on your own.
Now if only Mayor Rahm Emanuel would explain why he's publicly slammed the title of Spike Lee's recent film project when his brother's client has made ad revenue off an 8-part web series of the same name since the year before...
To be clear, I'm not saying the inspiration for an Entourage character should have any direct say in anyone's editorial content.
I'm just asking for a little less hypocrisy from a man who's pledged to reduce violence throughout his time as mayor.