Ve­gan joke no rea­son for pil­lo­ry­ing Bar­bara Ellen, Com­ment,

The Observer - - News -

Ev­ery­one

has been feasting on the car­cass of the Wil­liam Sitwell ve­gan de­ba­cle to the point where it’s started to feel like a Mas­terChef can­ni­bal spe­cial.

For those who missed it, Waitrose Food mag­a­zine ed­i­tor Sitwell replied to free­lancer Se­lene Nel­son’s sug­gested ar­ti­cle on ve­gan food with an email say­ing he’d like to print a fea­ture on “killing ve­g­ans, one by one”. Af­ter an out­cry, he apol­o­gised and then re­signed.

Pre­dictably, opin­ions swiftly po­larised. Some felt Sitwell’s re­sponse was both un­pro­fes­sional and of­fen­sive. Oth­ers ar­gued it was a pri­vate email, ve­gan jokes should be al­lowed and at­tacks on Sitwell were an af­front to free speech.

I find my­self torn. Sitwell didn’t be­have pro­fes­sion­ally, po­litely or even with any aware­ness of Waitrose’s new ve­gan and vege­tar­ian ranges. More­over, as a life­long vege­tar­ian, I know how “my kind” are re­lent­lessly ridiculed. I can only pre­sume it must be even worse for ve­g­ans. As a side­bar, baiters have been riff­ing for­ever about hunt­ing/ eat­ing veg­e­tar­i­ans and ve­g­ans and other clas­sic “jokes”. It’s all got a bit end of the pier and they se­ri­ously need to up their com­edy game.

How­ever, I still don’t think that Sitwell, or any­one else, should lose his job over some­thing like this. Not only was it a sorry over­re­ac­tion but Sitwell’s old Eto­nian buddy, Ja­cob Rees-Mogg, pub­licly sup­ported him – wasn’t that pun­ish­ment enough?

More se­ri­ously, veg­e­tar­i­ans and ve­g­ans need to stay self-aware. Peo­ple turn against meat for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons and for many, in­clud­ing my­self, it can be­come very per­sonal and heart­felt. How­ever, while they take a lot of flak, it’s still a choice – we aren’t op­pressed mi­nori­ties and it’s undig­ni­fied and in­ap­pro­pri­ate to act as if we are.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.