The wild and crazy life of Shane Smith, cofounder and CEO of Vice

Shane smithPaul Zimmerman/Getty ImagesShane Smith, cofounder and CEO of Vice.

Shane Smith, cofounder and CEO of $US2.5 billion media company Vice, is a highly controversial figure.

From $US300,000 steak dinners to wild, celebrity-packed parties, Smith is always pushing the envelope. His personal net worth has been estimated to be as much as $US400 million.

He’s also an accomplished journalist who has traveled everywhere from Libya to North Korea.

Smith has served as Vice's resident partier since he cofounded the magazine in 1994. Here he attends a screening of 'The Vice Guide to Everything,' a series the media company launched in New York City in 2010.

From the beginning, Vice's brash style appealed to a punk rock, drug-using audience. Smith fit the mould. 'I would be at the party and would just want to get wasted, take coke and have sex with girls in the bathroom,' he told the Financial Times in 2012.

I like to call this "when I did lots of cocaine" or just "cocaine" for short.

A photo posted by Shane Smith (@shanesmithvice) on

Source: FT

In recent years, Vice has expanded its coverage to include politics, tech, music, fashion, food, and more general news coverage. It's also launched a record label, book imprint, online TV network, and ad agency, but Smith still knows how to have a good time. Here he's seen partying onstage with Bono and Jony Ive during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Me crying on stage with Bono and Jony Ive at Cannes lions. #red # change the world.

A photo posted by Shane Smith (@shanesmithvice) on

Friend Johnny Knoxville described him to the New York Times: 'a decent, sharply intelligent, great big charismatic grizzly bear of a man, and those are the exact qualities you want in a leader, or a drinking buddy.'

My head is unnaturally large it seems.

A photo posted by Shane Smith (@shanesmithvice) on

Source: New York Times

He's also known to roam Vice's Brooklyn offices shirtless.

During a trip to Las Vegas for CES this past January, Smith reportedly dropped $300,000 on wine and steak for 30 people at Jean-Georges Vonderichten's Prime Steakhouse. According to guests who confirmed details of the dinner to The New York Times, Smith had won more than $1 million gambling over the course of the week at CES.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary in December, Vice threw a massive party that featured performances by Lil Wayne, Karen O, and Pussy Riot, just to name a few.

Lil Wayne (@liltunechi_c5) at @Vice 20th anniversary party last night #vice20

A photo posted by Ryan Muir (@ryanmuir) on


Source: Gawker

Before the party officially began, Smith stood on stage and distributed checks of $1,500 to each of Vice's 700 full-time employees. The bonus was worth more than $1 million in total.

Vice owns Old Blue Last, a rock-and-roll pub in the Shoreditch section of London. Since Vice took over operations in 2005, the bar has hosted live concerts by some fairly well-known rock bands, including Arctic Monkeys and Wolf Alice. Smith is known to frequent the pub when he's in town.

Smith has traveled to a number of exotic locations for his reporting. He has been to North Korea twice -- when he traveled there in 2008, he and a film crew surreptitiously shot a film that quickly became an online hit. He has since been banned from the country.

Ahhhh the good old days when life was much simpler.

A photo posted by Shane Smith (@shanesmithvice) on

Source: Vice

Smith once told the BBC that he 'wouldn't send any journalist anywhere I wouldn't go myself.' He recently traveled to Russia to investigate a number of North Korean labour camps hidden in the Siberian forest.

Spreading propaganda on red sq. vive ŁA Revolucion!!!

A photo posted by Shane Smith (@shanesmithvice) on

Source: Vice, BBC

And in November 2014, he traveled to Antarctica for a story on climate change. He's also reported from Libya, Pakistan, and the Sudan.

400 miles from South Pole.

A photo posted by Shane Smith (@shanesmithvice) on

Source: Vice News

Though he's now married and has two daughters, Smith still has a healthy sense of adventure and often brings his family along on trips. The family has a home in the Costa Rican jungle, which Smith says he uses as an escape. He told the Hollywood Reporter, 'There's no Internet. There's no TV. Do I work there? Hell no.'

Winter sucks.

A photo posted by Shane Smith (@shanesmithvice) on

Source: Hollywood Reporter

The family's primary residence is a 2,400-square-foot loft in New York City's pricey Tribeca neighbourhood. Smith reportedly paid $2.2 million for the apartment in 2009, shortly after he returned from Africa for a yearlong reporting trip.

Source: NY Post

Earlier this month, he interviewed Vice President Joe Biden during Biden's visit to the company's headquarters in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Shooting for HBO season three. Vice President drops by.

A photo posted by Shane Smith (@shanesmithvice) on

Source: Vice

In October, Smith chatted with Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel and filmmaker George Lucas during the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco.

In August 2014, Vice's HBO show won an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Informational Series or Special. Smith celebrated with producers BJ Levin and Eddy Moretti.

Source: Vice

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