On March 9th, Vice published a piece by Senior Editor Benjamin Shapiro in which he detailed his preparations for an upcoming “massive table tennis charity grudge match” with Rolling Stone’s Head of Digital Gus Wenner. Shapiro wrote, “I only hate two people on this planet. One of them is Gus Wenner.” Here is Wenner’s response:
I should start by apologizing for the picture we used for this story. We tried to find a photo of you on Google Images, but all the results seemed to be of other Benjamin Shapiros. We did the best we could.
As you are aware, before any competition it’s best to know a little about your opponent. So thank you for writing your piece, because it taught me a few things that will be crucial to my preparation. First of all, I have learned that you exist. Second, I know that your hair is thinning. And finally, I have learned you are quite aggressive. I have seen this combination of qualities before – specifically, in the British table tennis champion Matthew Syed.
Clearly, my work is cut out for me.
I will admit, I was somewhat moved to learn that you have gone from a “pimply, fantasy-obsessed pre-teen” to a confident, angry adult. This is a real redemption story.
When I was approached to participate in this charity event, I gladly agreed. The organizer then asked me if I would like to wager anything to make the match more exciting, and I agreed to that as well. But then I got an e-mail from him saying you declined! So, I will pose this to you directly: How about the loser of the match agrees that RS or Vice will pay $5k to the charity of the winner’s choosing? I hope you have a large enough role at Vice to agree to such terms. If not, ask Shane Smith.
See you soon,