Vegan journalist Selene Nelson has been sent meat packages and death threats since exposing former Waitrose Food editor William Sitwell for his comments about ‘killing vegans’.
Last month, in an email exchange, leaked to BuzzFeed News, the food journalist wrote to Sitwell to suggest a series on plant-based food trends.
Sitwell responded by suggesting a section about ‘killing vegans and force-feeding them meat’ to ‘expose their hypocrisy’.
The two met in a Hackney pub on The One Show on Monday (November 26) to talk out their differences.
Both Sitwell and Nelson reported receiving shocking abuse since the story broke.
Sitwell said the reaction was “pretty immense and grotesque and angry and revolting” and that people were “wishing the death of my child” and “the rape of my wife”.
And food writer Nelson suffered similar treatment.
“I got a reaction very similar, got people wishing death on me… people constantly sending me meat gifts as if that’s going to shock me,” she explained.
“The first thing you have to develop as a vegan is a sense of humour… there are funny vegan jokes and there are the ones that aren’t funny.”
After Nelson leaked the email exchange, Sitwell resigned from his position, which the journalist said was not her intention.
And the two discussed the background of their exchange. “My immediate thought was just shock,” Nelson said.
“I was very shocked when I saw it. I hoped you weren’t really serious about killing vegans… I assumed you were being facetious, but I didn’t know what was behind that.”
Sitwell also apologised to Nelson for his email, describing it as ‘flippant and immature and silly’.
“It is quite rare for editors taking the time to reply to people,” he added.
Despite the backlash, Sitwell doesn’t seem convinced by the merits of a plant-based lifestyle.
“We eat things because it gives us pleasure, but I don’t think vegans can occupy the high moral ground on this,” he said.
“I think that one of the offshoots of the animal world of production is manure. How are we going to fertilise a world of carrots and avocados?”
What do you think of William Sitwell’s comments? Tell us in the comments section below!
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