Viceland, the television channel operated by edgy (and allegedly toxic) multimedia house Vice Media, may have just torched its relationship with rapper Action Bronson in an attempt to have fun online. Monday afternoon, the Viceland Twitter account violated modern society’s most important rule — never tweet — and did just that, posting, “Remember “Salt Bae?” This is him now. Feel old yet?” Attached was a gif of Mr. Bronson using a large pepper mill.
Well, on Tuesday, Action Bronson took notice of the tweet and responded. If this is to be taken earnestly, he isn’t happy to be compared against the restaurateur and IRL internet meme.
Is this just a stunt to drum up some hype? It could be. But, Viceland deleted the tweet shortly after Bronsoliño put the network on blast. This just might be real: A spokesperson for Viceland declined to comment, and representatives for Action Bronson did not immediately responded to requests for comment.
Before becoming a globally successful musician, Action Bronson paid his bills by working in New York City restaurant kitchens. He signed with Vice’s record label in 2012, and the company quickly determined Bam Bam’s big personality and enthusiasm for food would make him a natural fit with the Vice brand on screen — perhaps a better fit than initially realized, as Bronson was forced to apologize for misogynistic and transphobic behavior in 2016. The rapper first appeared in a Vice Eats YouTube video in 2013, dining at NYC Italian hot spot Marea in 2013 and offering commentary on the pasta such as, “Yo, I’ll slap the shit out of someone’s father right now.”
The Vice Eats web series was parlayed into a Viceland food and travel show with a title taken from the highest praise Action Bronson bestows upon a dish, Fuck That’s Delicious. It premiered when the network launched in 2016. Two more Action Bronson-centric series, The Untitled Action Bronson Show and Traveling The Stars: Action Bronson and Friends Watch ‘Ancient Aliens’ have debuted on the network in recent years.
Now this relationship may be coming to an acrimonious end. The rapper followed up on his initial tweet and made it clear that if he is in fact parting ways with Vice, he will retain control of his identity.
FUCK THATS DELICIOUS IS FOREVER BITCH. I OWN ALL RIGHTS. I CREATED IT.— White BRONCO (@ActionBronson) October 16, 2018
YOU WOULD THINK THEY WOULD USE THEIR PLATFORM TO PROMOTE THE SHOW ON THEIR CHANNEL PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIKE. I WAS ALSO ON THEIR RECORD LABEL THAT HAD ONE EMPLOYEE. I MUST BE OUT OF MY MIND.— White BRONCO (@ActionBronson) October 16, 2018
Action Bronson has not made it clear exactly why he is taking offense to Viceland’s Salt Bae tweet. It could be that he does not want to be seen as lesser version of the fit Maldon sprinkler. Or, maybe Salt Bae’s willingness to host unsavory public figures such as Venezuelan despot Nicolás Maduro and Large Adult Presidential Son Donald Trump Jr. is more than Action Bronson can abide.
Update: October 17, 2018, 8:25 a.m.: This article was updated to reflect that a Viceland spokesperson declined to comment.