Shane Smith

September 25, 2012

I'm Shane Smith from VICE and I went to Juarez to meet Mitt Romney's Mexican Mormon family and investigate their war against the drug cartels. Ask Me Anything.

I'm Shane Smith, co-founder of magazine-turned-global media empire VICE. Recently I went to Juarez, Mexico where the drug cartels are at war with a group of polygamous Mormons, some of whom are related to Mitt Romney. I thought you guys might be interested in what I saw. Ask me anything about the conflict, Romney's Mexican Mormon family, myself, my company - anything.

I also documented the whole thing:

NOTE: I'll be able to respond to questions between 11a-1p EST.

Proof: My original tweet This post is also linked from

UPDATE: OK have to sign off now and go back to shooting. Thanks for all the kind words. You have no idea how much it means to me especially when I am away shooting. You are all beautiful babies. Lets change the fucking World (it needs it).


When does the HBO series start? Should we expect new content?

It starts late this year

When does the HBO series start? Should we expect new content?

all new all killer Dec/Jan

Just wanted to say I love your documentaries and you are an interesting dude to listen to. Love your podcast time with Joe!

thanks very much I appreciate that

What were the locals like? And did you have any major problems getting permission to film?

we didn't get permission and the locals were lovely, cept for the bad ones that chased us out of dodge

Has there be a high tension situation (monrovia streets at night, cartel pick-ups checking up on you, etc.) where you have thought to yourself "what the fuck am I doing here?" and almost considered giving up on such awesome and dangerous expeditions.

not really. I like it. its only dangerous when you think about it afterwards. at the time you are just thinking "fuck I hope I go that shot!"

I've lived in Mexico (Tijuana) for quite some time, and while Mormons exist there certainly is not the type of base they appear to have in Juarez. Do you get the feeling that the rest of Mexico is aware of this Mormon conflict or is it localized?

well they have colonies in DF and now in the South as well. THere are mennonites in Chihuahua as well a lot of Religious shit happening out there in the desert.

So when do you see an end to the war on drugs in America? I was watching Boardwalk Empire last night and thought the same thing you mentioned in part 7, it is extremely similar to what happened in the 20's with alcohol. The people who want the stuff get it but it's giving bad people a lot of power.

I don't see it ever ending unless the US admits that the "War on Drugs" has been a disaster and that we have to start decriminalizing now.

I want to first thank you for your work with Vice. I have gotten a sense of how ballsy you guys can be (traveling to Liberia and North Korea) but has there ever been a piece that you just felt was too risky and not worth risking your life for that you backed down on?

Somalia a few times we were going to get embeded with the pirates and both times our pirates ended up in firefights with other pirates. puntland is hardcore.

In terms of your safety, how did this trip stack up compared to your previous visits to North Korea and elsewhere?

its scary in Mexico because there will be no warning, just a shot. They all make their money smuggling so if you have a camera then it can't be anything positive so they just shoot. There are so many killings, hijackings and kidnappings that if you get caught shooting no one would blink if you dissappeared.

Hey Shane, I've been a massive fan since late 2010 when you guys have your show on MTV and continue to keep up to date with your stuff through youtube and I thought I'd throw a couple questions your way

Thanks, Nathan

1) we left MTV and now have a Show on HBO that will premiere late this year (and Hollleeeee fuck do we have some bombs)

2) apply to us at

3) Thomas has just shot GOLD for us in Africa. COming soon.

Is there any chance that we'll see the return of pure controversy articles, like the The Vice Guide to Shagging Muslims? That was ages ago.

hahhhhha we have controversial shit up almost everyday. Are Tardigrades piece nearly caused a religious war!!

Thanks for all your amazing work!

Has Vice had any response from the Romney camp over the Juarez story?

I have been shooting in Pakistan so I don't know in all honesty but will check.

Does Romneys Mormon family want the war on drugs to end ?

yes. big time. They want to talk to Mitt and advise him on the situation down there.

Hi Shane! Ever since watching your amazing documentaries e.g. Trip to North Korea, Liberia, I've been inspired to travel to more interesting and "uncommon" places.

Have a great day!

well figure out a place that sounds insane, then buy a ticket.

Try and fit in, dress like a bum with a few local flourishes, learn some of the language and if possible stay drunk.

I got started by traveling for Vice around the world/

I never feel like I was going to die until I got on the plane home as is usual.

What would you say is Joe Rogans most attractive physical feature? Not that I care or anything.

his brain. Oh and those shoulders.....

You've been to some really messed up places and seen some disturbing shit. How does that affect your faith in humanity, if you have any?

people are essentially good. armies are essentially bad. Armies have to kill and destroy, its what they are built for. Only when you see the wake of an army do you realize how terrible we can be as a species.

I look forward to watching this after work. What are your travel plans for the future? Are there any new series coming out for the video side of Vice?

have been shooting a ton recently; Africa, Asia, Pakistan, India, Lots and lots of Bombs to come.

First, thanks for doing the work you do. I'm watching the videos now. For those who don't have time right now but may want to watch later, what specific information lead you to engage this topic, or, describe the "wow" moment when you felt compelled to dig deeper into the story.

Thanks again, Shane!

When I heard the Mormons were at War with the Cartels I was like "What wait???" Then as we dug deeper it got more and more insane. I love stories like that.

Did you get bloodflow when you were in the hot tub with the transgender ladies? Also any word on the HBO show? And how much airtime will you get on the HBO show? Thanks for being awesome.

No i didn't get a boner (there was a whole crew shooting it) But i have no beef with she males. HBO is a full series and I am the host. Thanks for being beautiful

What do the cartels think of our border security?

they all live in Texas because its safer.


people steal our shit all day long. We are small but we have the best stories.

I really like your videos, but why don't you release the whole thing at once? It really bothers me when i get halfway through and have to stop and watch it later.

we have to edit them, much like a TV series they take time and effort and money and clearances and this one we wanted to get up fast so we serialized. Sometimes we release all at once and sometimes if its more time sensitive we edit as we go. Quite frankly I am a little dismayed by how many comments we got about the way we released this series. It was as fast as we could do it.

Hey Shane. I'm interested in knowing if you are trained in self defense whether it be ninjitsu, archery, or MacGuyver shit. I love vice videos but I always feel the real danger in your videos. You guys and gals are doing great work, putting to light many issues.

I find if i stay a little drunky it hurts less when I hit the ground.

Liberia, NOrth Korea, Siberia, Mexico, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan have all had their own holy shit moments. But Getting jailed by the secret police in Yemen was bad. Very bad.

we are going to be shooting with DPRK refugees in a new seg that will blow your fucking mind (if I do say so myself)

Booze, coke, MDMA, E favs. Non-favs any speed, Meth, Herion, "hitler's charlie"

When you're faced with hairy situations, do you think having a beard helps?

yes i think it does. people don't take me seriously.

Where do you really want to go next?

(Thanks so much for these docs. Definitely some of the best work out there.)

I'm here now shooting, wait until you see this one WHAT a story (can't say exactly where cuz I don't want to die.

What's the craziest (but safe) destination for an openminded adventurous 28-yearold?


What advice regarding finding a job similar to yours would you give an aspring world traveler? The position you hold at VICE is a position I aspire to have in the future. I'm a college freshmen majoring in International Studies and I've been to 12 countries. I want to travel the world and see/experience as many cultures as I can.

start a travel blog and make it REALLY fucking popular. Then you can go anywhere, do anything/

Did you and the producers discuss mentioning (or purposely keeping out, since I don't think it comes up in the chapters released thus far) the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal? Does/can it relate to this story, or am I trying to make a connection that doesn't actually exist?

we talked about Fast and Furious with Kelly Romney. he mentioned it and we followed it up. CRAZY fucking story. Tragic.

Hey Man ,Which is more difficult to get a Taliban or a Mexican drug lord to interview ??

Mexican Narco for sure. Taliban want to talk. We have a new series coming called "Warlord of the Week" and we have a line up of Taliban who want to floss. Narcos? Not so much.

keep doing what you're doing - it's by far my favorite thing to watch on youtube

thank you very much

What kind of Arab Spring coverage should we expect to see in the future?

Syria is going to meltdown. Egypt will be a problem going forward. And if Israel bombs Iran then we are all fucked....

Hello Mr. Smith; I love the VICE. When are going into Syria? Thank you for doing this.

we are shooting there as we speak.

Shane, just wanted to say you mah nigga! Found Vice 3 years ago during my freshman year, and you guys have provided some of the most insightful, interesting footage. You all strive to capture real life all around the world and I appreciate it.

I appreciate your support man.

Did you ever get that blowjob while shooting a machine gun?

no but I tried mightily.

Tell Baby Balls that he's awesome for me, I can't find an email or a twitter to tell him myself. Thank you and good day.

I will, he is very shy.

Just wanted to say that when you are on the JRE episodes, they are some of the best! Out of curiosity are you fluent in Spanish or any other languages? Thanks.

French, a bit of Italian, Spanish and some Greek.

Yo Shane, love your shit. Tell me, is Vice part of a total reinterpretation and democratization of the way we receive news and updates on current events? I mean, you do a lot of other stuff too, but obviously you're getting tons of fans and followers day by day who believe that anyone with a camera has the right to report. How long does the mainstream, biased and bribed media have left until we get all our info from real humans beings?

Keep it up.

well thats a great question. I think that its a changing of the guard in media and its about time. Over the past 15 years mainstream media has failed us. They don't keep powerful politicians and businessmen in check, the have failed as the fourth estate. That means that WE have to take on that mantle and do it ourselves. Fuck the mainstream media, we can tell our own stories now.

Why haven't we seen more "Vice Guide to Travel" episodes recently?

we are shooting a bunch for HBO that we will share on as well. A lot of gold coming this fall.

do you feel that the gun conflict in Mexico is instigated by any American political forces.

yes. NAFTA caused the agrarian poverty in Northern Mexico today. Our insatiable desire for drugs and stupid prohibition have led to the Narcos taking over the region and our lax gun policies have led to them being armed like militaries.

Your companies branding abilities are amazing.When did you realize that VICE could start consulting with established brands to push a "VICE" approved image? Which leads to, How the hell do you convince suits that you could translate your vibe to their product and that it was worth doing?

What are the things you look for in your branding team/writers/whatever-you-call-them that also correspond with your correspondents? A cavalier disregard of convention plus...

Where the hell do I submit a piece for review? A buddy of mine said that he submitted his diamond smuggling piece but I can't find out where he did this.

Finally, Thanks for all the original content. I like naked women and unique reporting and shitcockfuck hyperbole.

we have essentially gone back to the 1950s for our model. "Only the Shadow KNows sponsored by Calgon" i.e.) We are going to make the content anyway and you should help us because people are going to love it. We don't make branded content we make content sponsored by brands. Our philosophy is simple. Try and make shit that doesn't suck. Then people will watch it. If a lot of people are watching then the brand should ask US to be a part of it rather than the other way around.

Submit to Ryan Duffy or Rocco Castoro

What kind of impact do you think that this recent exposé on the Romney Family History might have on the upcoming presidential election?

I think Romney has fucked himself with no help from me. Give'em enough rope....

Not a question but wanted to let you know that I have been watching all the video on the Vice website and this is a great mini series!


Cat Marnell is so intriguing to me, even in her xojane days. Her writing is extremely polarizing, but at least she's honest. Can you tell a little more about how you decided to give her her own column and also what she's like to work with?

We are called VICE, she is a perfect VICE correspondent, honest and against the grain. She writes well. Everyone now loves HST but has a hard time with her? Hindsight is 20/20 I guess.

How does one get involved with VICE? Do you guys do internships, is it a traditional hiring process?

yes and yes

inquire through HR at our sight.

Hey Shane, in terms of research social/political/ economic issues, where do you generally gain initial awareness? To better phrase, what newspapers do you read or recommend VICE to read? The Guardian?

I read the local papers where possible, as others tend to be biased. I like the Economist for macro stuff and of course VICE.

Hi Shane. Big fan, and love what you do.

Welp, might as well try: What does it take to work at Vice as a reporter, photographer, whatever? It's really become the kind of media outlet I have always been interested in and would love to know if any opportunities are available.

Your international reportage is really inspiring. Thanks for the laughs and uncovering interesting truths around the world.

Rocco Castoro or Ryan Duffy are the guys who run vice day to day. Bend their ears.

It seemed that a lot went unsaid in the Mormons vs the Cartels series. Was there a lot of violence that you couldn't talk about in it?

yes. we were forced to edit some shit down. The really violent shit. And we dont' want to put targets on anyones backs when we shoot with them. No matter what.

I like Vice, a lot. I have a few questions.

  1. It appears sometimes that your writers are assholes, which is good, I find it funny. Is this on purpose or are they actually assholes?

  2. Are your writers ignorant to some things on purpose? again this adds to comedic affect, so it doesn't bother me, it's just interesting.

  3. What are Vice's plans for the future, what is your goal?

  4. What is Vice's aim at the moment? I find what you do covers a pretty broad spectrum.


  1. Hahaha I didn't know that was a criteria or a trend. I think we call bullshit on a lot of stuff, but if you met most of them you would be surprised at how sweet they all are.

2) We are both ignorant and funny.

3) to become the largest youth network in the world.

  1. see above.

What do you miss the most when you are out travelling?

bed, bath, wife, kids, sheets, solid shits.

First off, you are my HERO. Now to the question: Based on your experience in Juarez, how much would you say that the cartel's hands are in the government? If so, similar to how the Yakuza have essentially bought their way into the Japanese government?

Cartels RUN the government down there. Much as Yakuza runs much of the local shit in certain Urban areas in Japan. The criminal economy is nearly as big as real economy, of course they have power. In many con tries the criminals are the government.

The mormons you dealt with seemed extremely normal, well adapted, and genuine. That was surprising to me given my prejudice, I expected some nut-job polygamists that would constantly veer the conversation to religion.

That said, the documentary really only showed their "spokesman." Were the rest of the mormons you dealt with in Mexico equally "normal" and well adapted? Did they preach or get creepy?

they were awesome. I really liked them and was surprised at how "AMerican" they all were. Super guys who are involved in some heavy shit. I hope they all stay safe and continue to prosper down there.

I live in El Paso, and I've often wondered if the cartels are forcing the Mormon farmers and ranchers for a share of their profits. It seems like most people who farm or own ranches over there, have had to stop partaking in any agricultural businesses in fear that they cannot supply the money that they demand (and risk getting massacred).

To your knowledge, does his family plan to re-locate to the states (do any of them have dual-citizenship?

Given Romney's hardline stance on immigration, have they appealed to him about this? You'd think he would try to fight for some sort of amnesty for his own family.

a lot have dual citizenship and a lot have indeed fled. Others are digging in their heels as Mexico is their home and they are quite patriotic. They want to talk to Mitt about his stance on Immigration as they think it is wrong, they support him, but believe he is mis informed.

There is nothing that you have put on video on your site that I haven't loved. To be a tad boorish, did you actually have sex with those Ladyboys? Just curious.

no I did not. again. there was a whole crew there. I am but a slave to the camera.

Is there anywhere that you want to go that you haven't been to yet?

A few places. We are shooting a lot of them right now. Kingdom of Mustang is hard.

What did you think of the families you mett in Juarez?

How much did you drink?

I liked them a lot. I drank a lot. I also became addicted to that green chili salsa they only have in the region. I still think of it now. Aracharra with green chili?? KIller.

Hey Shane have you guys ever tried to get into Cuba? Or are planning on it?

yes we have shot there and have a shoot in our sched for this fall.

If something were to ever happen to you or any crew member, how do you think Vice would move forward with this type of material? It's kind of a morbid question, but I'm sure it's a reality that you deal with all the time. Thanks for doing what you do. Have a great day! - Rafael

well most of our hosts are very frank about this. They want us to keep shooting no matter what. IF anything happened to me I want to world to wear black for one day then have an ice cream 80's dance party the next.

Hey Shane, big fan of Vice. I want to ask you, I've sent countless e-mails and such to Vice regarding Photojournalism / Media Reporting and I NEED to do I join your wonderful Media Outlet??

ask Rocco for a job, he is a nice boy.

Shane, I am so happy you are doing an AMA, VICE is my absolute favorite when it comes to documentaries.

What advice would you give to an aspiring documentarian?

Many thanks, and keep doing what you are doing so well.

get a camera, get a story and shoot it. Seriously its as simple as that. DOn't overthink it. Just press record and let the material do its business.

Hi shane smith. you guys are the downright making the world better when you do investigative work, detangling every knot. thank you. Q is: when you state MR mormon family has a war against drugs it may seem as if so will MR. True? I don't think that he would for a second. you?

thanks very much but I don't understand the question.

Hey Shane, most of my questions have already been asked so I just wanted to thank you for your awesome work and I'm really excited about the HBO show.

thanks man, its going to be great I think. Best shit I ever shot.

what was it like making the coolest video for riff raff - orions belt ?

is this code.?

"Cuz I've seen. Ohhhhhhhhhhh blue skieeeeeessssss, through the tears, in my eyes....... then I realize........ I'm coming hoooommmmmeeee."

RHPS - that Riff Raff?

How many years/generations do you think it would take for a place like Liberia to turn itself around and become a pleasant, safe place to live?

dunno, I hope one generation. But there is some shit happening there now that is very unsettling.

Peace Shane. How does Vice recruit talent? Word of mouth? Doesn't seem like the type of gig for a corporate recruiter to ask about the lengths one may go through to get a story. On another note, I would love to work for VICE. Applied for the VICE records position, but to no avail. I have proper credentials. Love the counter culture aspect, it's the realest news out here...keep up the killer ass work. Chicago digs VICE

literally it is very organic, shit just happens, a lot of it is timing (and if we can find seats) next year we will double staff so try again in Jan would be my advice.

What's the most ... up thing in the world right now, that people should pay more attention to?

Nuclear Proliferation. We should not have these weapons, nor Russia nor anyone else. Iran, Pakistan, India, Israel all with Nukes? Its going to kill us all and for what? The residuals of a cold war that reminds me of children playing with loaded pistols.

Hey Shane, fellow bearded Canadian here. I've always been fascinated and impressed with your work and your approach to journalism and publicity. In contrast to Gavin-Era satirical Vice, I particularly love your informative, political documentaries. I guess the question is, do you still have a friendship with that gnarly Scotsman?

Gavin and I went our own ways years and years ago. Wish him the best.

What is the scariest thing you have done as a reporter?

sneak memory cards out of North Korea. Or close second bribed the Yemeni secret police.

First off, I fucking love Vice. Watch the videos and read the articles daily. I've also been following the Drug Cartels vs Mormons videos for the last little while and they're really great.

How often when you go off to investigate and document dangerous conflicts or places, do you feel like you're in danger? And when those two black trucks parked outside your motel in Juarez and took pictures, how could you explain your feelings when Lebaron said it'd be best if you guys got the fuck out of there?

in the moment its not so bad. You're just like "ok lets get the fuck out of here and then you're driving and then in another hotel" its only when you realize how close you were to going down in a blaze of machine gun fire that you go "oh shit"

Hi Shane, love the shows. Have you ever considered making a Doc on Irish Travelers?

yes. 'specially their fist fights.

You are someone I aspire to in my professional life as a photographer. I would love to be able to travel the world to document the stories no one else is getting. I am already getting my foot in the door by traveling around the US covering things like porn conventions and the Gathering of the Juggalos, but do you have any advice for someone like me? Right now I'm taking a bunch of photos, hoping they get noticed, but I'm not sure what the next step is

take good pictures. come to NYC and show them to EVERYONE>

I live in London right now and I think I'm good at videomaking, I just need to convince the rest of the world. What would you ask me to do with my camera in the next 24 hours to convince at least you and VICE team in London that I'm actually good at videmaking?

destroy me. then send it to Andy Capper and ask him to watch. (I am not at office)

What's the best course of action for a junior in the journalism professional program at the University of Montana to land an internship or job with VICE after graduation?

And any tips for standing out in journalism as it moves to a more online based field?

ask our HR person he should say yes.

Are you ever afraid to get some putang when your is these shit holes??

I only care about the story and baths. so no.

First, i Love Vice. You guys got some balls! Also I think it's great of you to cooperate with German public broadcasting zdf.neo!

Have you planned going back to north Korea. That was easily the best documentary ever! Now that Kim-junior is in charge? Maybe ride some roller coasters with him? ;)

we are trying to set up a shoot with Kim Jung Un as we speak.

Thanks for your great work. Can you talk about what it was like returning to Libya under recent circumstances in contrast to your first trip there where you ended up under house arrest and had to bribe your way out with sneakers?

hahhaha, the second time was much better. I hope they pull it together. It was really inspiring to see the toppling of a despot in real time.

Why is VICE .com so hard to navigate?

because we are journalists not programmers. We suck I am sorry.

I just ate some Alpha Brain for the first time. I'm unsure if this shit even works, what are your thoughts?

Ask Joe Rogan, I don't know really.

Do you feel that Vice get's shit for it's varying content everything from Guide to Liberia to Cat Marnell to Hamilton's work to Epicly Later'd and everything in between? Or are people mostly appreciative of the wide range in content?

If we do I don't really care. We just want to do shit that doesn't suck. I don;t care if we fall into a category or not.

I was looking around the area on google earth and noticed and Mennonite Church and Co-op near by. Do you know if they are they having the same problems with the cartel?

Yes! they are. Good fucking research. They also make delicious cheese. and as such have started a fantastic pizza chain. True story.


Favorite was Libya. Very inspiring and I got to sleep on a boat for long periods of time after days of no sleep due to constant bombings.

Would you rather be deaf or Amish?


Shane, I have been a huge fan since you guys released The Vice Guide to North Korea I think back in 2007. I think I may have watched every one of your videos at least five times. Ever since then Vice (VBS) has always been a model for what I want to do with my life. I am currently in college at SUNY Oswego for broadcasting communications, with hopes by the time I graduate to become a director of photography. My main question is what does it take to become a part of the film crew for Vice? And also what personally is your favorite documentary on Vice?

Thanks man, keep up the awesome work! Jordan

Ryan Duffy is your man. Favorite doc? GUn Markets of Pakistan or Heavy Metal in Baghdad.

The president of Uruguay used to be a guerilla leader, as in, killed some folks. Ever thought of profiling him?

yes but he (surprisingly) doesn't want to talk to us.

You are in an airport terminal waiting for a flight. What do you buy from the magazine/snack store?

dramamine, economist, cool ranch doritos.

What would you say the biggest difference is between VICE and main stream media?

we don't such (as much)

Favorite car?

not really a car guy but if I had to have one some shit brown old lady 1977 roller with a 17 year old with facial tattoos as my driver. Pure style.

Are you familiar with Nathan Barley?


Did you purposefully use the term "Mormon" when in reality Polygamists aren't considered Mormons at all anymore? I figure everyone at VICE knows the differences and similarities. Just the title of your series really turned a lot of Mormons off. (I didn't mind.. it was all mind blowing stuff.. )

Well they consider themselves more Mormon than LDS in actual fact.

Personal opinion on LSD? Marijuana?

great when you are 17 not great when you are 42


i just like stories. Find a story and flesh it out. That is the key to everything. If you want to intern for us just apply.

as a random mexican here, did you expect that someday CD Juarez will be again as the safe and fun city it was in the very past?

and for that do you think is there an estimated time (some years maybe)

i (sadly) don't think it will happen unless the US decriminalizes drugs.

I love Vice. I'm a hardcore blogger. How do I work for you?

Search out Rocco Castoro, Blogger = good.

First I would like to comment on how much I have appreciate Vice... Over the last 10 years; from going to local boutique stores to get a fresh copy of your magazine to watching the documentaries online; I have read many interesting articles that I would never expect to see in any other publications.

My question is: What inspired you to start the Vice company and peruse topics that you would not normally read about in traditional periodicals?

all magazines were shit in Canada so we started one. Then we wanted to shoot our stories so we bought cameras, no business plan no strategy just start.

What are your feelings about traditional journalism versus the type of journalism you guys do at VICE?

Also, is Cat Marnell a huge train wreck in real life?

i think traditional journalism is just as much horse shit as what we do. there is your version, my version and somewhere in between the truth. We just try to let the story tell itself and not shoehorn our ideals or ideas into a story before it is actually shot.

Hi Shane, I'm a big fan of what you do... thanks for being the real deal.

Question about the Vice record label: are you involved? If so, how much and what's your day-to-day? Any insight for interested non-NY bands?


Thanks. I am involved but my Partner Suroosh Alvi runs it day to day. You should try to hit him up, he is always looking for new bands and has a golden ear.

Shane, I have loved vice for many many years. since it was in print and I was 17 (26 now) I watch every video as soon as it shows up on the page. I am still waiting for the rest of the mitt romney videos. I especially love the videos where you guys travel as I have never had the opportunity to travel anywhere other than Canada/US, and you guys remind me of my friends. I really appreciate all your work and if you ever need someone to go to the mountains to shoot guns please contact me. Seriously.

thanks for your support!! all eps up now!!! Watch them!!!

Thank you. Just plain and simply thank you for broadening my horizon in regards to media, culture and education. VICE has given me a live-changing perspective on several important yet pretty unknown matters, and I have recommended you to a lot of people and will continue to do so. Greetings from Denmark :)

Thanks very much.


Thank you so much for VICE. I've watched all of your documentaries and have loved all of them. They are real inspiration for me as I love your style of reporting as it all seems so real, and to a degree, dangerous which makes it all so captivating.

You have a massive fan base at my sixth form and your videos are always a hot topic for us.

Thanks again

thanks man. that makes me happier than you can know.

VICE is one of the most important publications out there, thank you.

thanks very much

Did you actually see radiated boars in Chernobyl? Also thanks for the AMA

yes, they were too fast for our camera but have been highly documented since.

Shane, I'm a big fan of your work, especially the North Korean related stuff.

I have a question about the North Korean labor camps one. On the part when you guys were out in the woods chatting with the actual laborers, you were kind enough to blur their faces in the film - but it seems that given that they were in the same scene with the higher-ups, one of whom was identified as the local party secretary, it would have been a trivially easy task for anyone in the North Korean leadership to identify these poor hapless souls doing nothing more offensive than having a beer with you and your crew, and talking about their day-to-day lives. Have you heard of anything happening to the North Koreans with whom you've made contact?

the workers had nothing to worry about with our coverage. The PArty bosses did, and in my opinion they are very bad men indeed.

Hey man its good to know that theres still some real reporters out there. I just discovered vice mag a few months ago and its a breath of fresh fucking air. God bless you and all of vice mag man!!!!!


Did you feel in more danger in Mexico or North Korea?

North Korea is more prolonged. Mexico is more BANG in your face.

How badly did you shit yourself when you found out the cartel was after you?

I was a little drunky so not so bad.

What are you fears for the future of American journalism? Or just Journalism in the western "free" media for that matter?

I would love to see a Vice guide to the fall of independent media. Hell I'd even quit my job to make it happen.

well I think you've hit the nail on the head. I fear that American Journalism has turned into American Propaganda. Watergate>?? Not anymore.

Would you agree that the racist stuff on Vice is for traffic and the sexist stuff is the real meat of the operation?

hahaha erm... sexy, racy, newsy I dunno about racist.

Who's scarier, the mexican mafia or the mormon mafia?


I honestly think you do the best work out there. I love the North Korean videos. I try to find all the ones you made of North Korea, I'm always fascinated with that. How long did it take you to go make that?

I know you do this a lot, are you worried constantly or have you became numb from all the dangers that you've been in?

I am always aware of danger, but skirt it with booze.

Were you in Australia a few weeks ago? I swear I saw you in Sydney. Then again, maybe some other legend has been blessed with your looks.

no just another fat slob covered in grease and vodka

Were you in St Petersburg FL a couple months ago at a sushi place called Hook's? I could have sworn I saw you there but you were walking out the door.

nope last time I was in Russia was Blagovashensk running from the FSB

My mom got you (and Suroosh for that matter) your green cards. She says what's up.

say what up to T

Who's idea was it to get jose canseco to write for you guys?

Rocco, pure genius.

What's the biggest threat to world security in your opinion within the next 5 years?

there should be no nuclear weapons on Earth period. Its only a matter of time.

Your YouTube channel is awesome and is the first place I go to for what I consider to be the most original and best presented documentaries today.

thanks we try.

how tempting was that enormous room full of shelves full of bins filled with drugs

smelled like my youth!!

[No question]

OK have to sign off now and go back to shooting. Thanks for all the kind words. You have no idea how much it means to me especially when I am away shooting. You are all beautiful babies. Lets change the fucking World (it needs it).


This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Shane Smith conducted on Reddit on 2012-09-25. The Reddit AMA can be found here.