Afterward, Rodman, with one hand in his pocket, delivered a speech.
“First of all,” he said, his words echoing in the immense stadium, “I would like to say thank you. You guys have been very, very kind to me and to my compadres from America.” He paused as his North Korean translator struggled with “compadres.” Rodman continued, “I’m sorry that my country and your country are not on good terms, but for me and—the country . .” Seeming to lose his train of thought, Rodman turned and bowed in the direction of the Supreme Leader, who had been watching him with a slightly nervous expression. stunt by Vice now looked like cozying up to a dangerous dictator.
With a flourish of his fingers, Rodman said, “Sir, you have a friend for life.” This cheerful scene—billed as “basketball diplomacy”—was soon complicated by developments in U. After Rodman’s visit, North Korea, which had recently been hit with tighter U. sanctions, scrapped its 1953 armistice with South Korea and threatened a preëmptive nuclear attack on the United States. This was not helped by a report from Ryan Duffy, a Vice correspondent, on Kim Jong-un’s hospitality: “Dinner was an epic feast. I’d say the winners were the smoked turkey and sushi, though we had the Pyongyang cold noodles earlier in the trip and that’s been the runaway favorite so far.” Rodman, speaking to reporters in Pyongyang, professed his admiration for the Supreme Leader: “Guess what!
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called the episode “More ‘Jackass’ Than Journalism,” and pointed out that, in light of the regime’s abuses and recent reports of cannibalism among a starving population, “those remarks and current headline on the Vice Web site that ‘North Korea has a friend in Dennis Rodman and Vice’ seem a bit, well, tasteless.” Vice has never been celebrated for good taste.
The company started in Montreal, in the mid-nineties, as a free magazine with a reputation for provocation.
Once, after its editors were accused of sexism for featuring nude porn stars in the magazine, they posed nude as well.
The Williamsburg headquarters of Vice Media, which calls itself “the Time Warner of the streets.” Its C. O., Shane Smith (on phone, above), says, “The over-all goal is to be the largest network for young people in the world.” Late in February, in the Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Indoor Stadium, in Pyongyang, North Korea, ten thousand stiff-looking spectators in gray Mao suits gathered to watch a basketball game.
Vice Media, the Brooklyn-based company, had arranged to have members of the Harlem Globetrotters—Anthony (Buckets) Blakes, Will (Bull) Bullard, and Alex (Moose) Weekes—play with North Korea’s national team.