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Shane Smith, the sometimes controversial but always press-friendly CEO of Vice Media, has found another way to make news: reportedly spend $300,000 on a Las Vegas meal.
On a Tuesday earnings call, MGM Resorts International boasted that someone had recently spent $300,000 taking some acquaintances to dinner at one of its restaurants. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that it was Smith.
The Vice co-founder spent the large sum of money at Bellagio’s Prime Steakhouse when he was in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show last month, Bloomberg reported.
Smith can certainly afford to pick up the tab after A+E Networks and Technology Crossover Ventures each invested $250 million in Vice for 10 percent stakes, on top of a $70 million investment from Rupert Murdoch‘s 21st Century Fox.
Vice fashions itself a cutting-edge media company that eschews tradition and on occasion even courts danger. It made worldwide news when it took former NBA player Dennis Rodman and the Harlem Globetrotters to North Korea to hang out with Kim Jong Un.
Smith has hinted at an IPO for Vice and guesses it could be worth $20 billion, likely an exaggeration, but an IPO of practically any magnitude would probably make him a billionaire.
A Vice spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter that Smith won “well north of” $300,000 while playing blackjack during his trip to Las Vegas and it was the money from that windfall that funded the dinner.
Still, the reveal of the $300,000 dinner might cause Smith some angst, given that he is being accused in some circles of living the good life while underpaying Vice staffers.
“A company as successful as Vice should be paying decent wages. Vice doesn’t,” says a recent report from Gawker. “The company pays shitty wages to low-level employees, compensating them instead with the sheer coolness of working for Vice Media.”
Then again, at a company party in December, Smith gave each full-time employee an envelope with $1,500 cash inside, amounting to a $1 million expenditure, according to insiders.
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