Comments an embarrassment to upmarket retailer
Peta has mocked the editor of Waitrose Magazine in a withering riposte after he suggested a journalist write a feature on “how to kill vegans one by one.”
William Sitwell, who also appears on BBC’s MasterChef, told freelance journalist Selene Nelson she should pen a series of articles about force-feeding meat to vegans, whom he accused of “hypocrisy.”
The editor wrote: “Hi Selene. Thanks for this. How about a series on killing vegans, one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?”
Nelson replied: “I’m not quite sure what you mean by ‘exposing their hypocrisy’, but I’m certainly interested in exploring why just the mention of veganism seems to make some people so hostile. It sounds like you have some opinions on this?”
In response, Peta recommended Sitwell sample some of the plant-based "delights" Waitrose was championing as doing so “might help open his mind to what he's been missing out on – and ease his obvious indigestion.”
Elisa Allen, director of Peta added: “In lashing out defensively and nastily over a struck nerve, Mr Sitwell has shown that he's out of touch with respectful dialogue – as well as with the British public, including Waitrose shoppers.
Sitwell has shown that he's out of touch with respectful dialogue - Elisa Allen
“There's a vegan revolution in progress, and if he were doing his job, he'd have noticed that Waitrose is slap bang in the middle of it, offering up vegan cheeses, ready meals, and sandwiches."
Earlier this year, the supermarket giant added dedicated vegan sections to stores nationwide.
Nelson, who is vegan, said she had been shocked by Sitwell’s response.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said: “I’ve written about many divisive topics, like capital punishment and murder cases and domestic violence, and I’ve never had a response like that to any of my articles or pitches.”
In a statement, Sitwell said: “I love and respect people of all appetites be they vegan, vegetarian or meat eaters, which I show week in week out through my writing, editing and broadcasting. I apologise profusely to anyone who has been offended or upset by this.”
A spokesman for Waitrose said: “Even though this was a private email, William’s gone too far and his words are extremely inappropriate, insensitive and absolutely do not represent our views.”