Food magazine editor quits after 'killing vegans' joke

The editor of a British food publication has resigned after joking in an email about "killing vegans" and fo...

Posted: Oct 31, 2018 2:50 PM
Updated: Oct 31, 2018 2:50 PM

The editor of a British food publication has resigned after joking in an email about "killing vegans" and force-feeding them meat.

William Sitwell, who edited the magazine produced by upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose, was responding to a pitch from freelance journalist Selene Nelson about a series of features covering vegan cooking.

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Continents and regions

Diet and nutrition

Diet, nutrition and fitness

Europe

Food and drink

Food trends

Health and medical

Magazines

Media industry

Northern Europe

Publishing industry

United Kingdom

Vegetarian and vegan diets

"How about a series on killing vegans, one by one," Sitwell replied. "Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?" he added.

His comments were met with a furious backlash online, where internet users called the editor "out of touch" and threatened to boycott Waitrose.

"Does this aggressive, ignorant and moronic behaviour represent Waitrose?" one Twitter user asked, while another wrote: "You have lost my custom until this dullard is sacked."

Waitrose became the first major British supermarket to launch a fully vegan range in June, and reported last month that its sales of vegan-based products were up 85% compared to last year.

"William's email absolutely doesn't represent our views about vegans and vegan food," the company said on Twitter after confirming his departure.

Sitwell joined Waitrose Food magazine in 1999, and also appears on BBC television cooking program "MasterChef."

"This editor's sin -- far worse than proposing 'killing vegans' -- is being completely OUT OF TOUCH with the British public," Ben Williamson, senior international media director at animal rights group PETA, wrote on Twitter in response to the controversy.

Around 600,000 people in the United Kingdom are vegans, according to British charity The Vegan Society.

"I'm certainly interested in exploring why just the mention of veganism seems to make some people so hostile," food journalist Nelson wrote in response to Sitwell's original email. "It sounds like you have some opinions on this?"

In a post on Instagram, Sitwell apologized "to any food and life-loving vegan who was genuinely offended by remarks written by me."

He called the comments "an ill-judged joke in a private email," and noted that the magazine devoted an entire issue to vegetables in 2017. Advertisements from producers of meat-based products were refused for that issue, he said.

John Brown Media, which produces the magazine for Waitrose, declined to comment on whether Sitwell continues to work within the company.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 42436

Reported Deaths: 655
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9228160
Marion5858108
Washington579076
Umatilla335444
Clackamas313965
Lane239227
Malheur191738
Jackson16846
Deschutes113213
Yamhill99415
Linn81015
Polk65415
Jefferson6049
Morrow5456
Lincoln51713
Union4672
Benton4426
Klamath4113
Douglas3506
Wasco34715
Hood River2771
Josephine2673
Columbia2661
Coos2460
Clatsop2430
Baker1203
Crook1092
Tillamook700
Curry571
Wallowa442
Lake370
Harney230
Sherman190
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00
Eugene
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 40°
Corvallis
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 40°
Roseburg
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 43°
North Bend
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 48°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events