British magazine editor William Sitwell made some jokes in a private email about vegans, according to Yahoo. It ended badly for him, as he was forced to quit his position at Waitrose Food magazine. The editor stated that it was “the right and proper move,” while others believe the comments weren’t bad enough to justify a career-ending incident. While nobody at the magazine pressured him to leave the job, vegans who heard of the comments, along with the Humane Society International, rallied to have the man fired. This was Sitwell’s offending message in response to a freelancer’s pitch for stories on vegan cooking.
“How about a series on killing vegans, one by one. Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?”
The freelancer in question, Selene Nelson, was the one that received this message. She said that the comments were “seriously bizarre.”
However, not everyone thinks that Sitwell said something so horrible that he ought to be done with his career. This includes Zoe Williams, who penned an opinion piece for The Guardian on the matter.
“But this is not a sackable offence. It is not a resignable offence. It is not a threat of violence, unless we’re going to take every email at face value, every x as a kiss, call a lifeguard every time anyone says they’re drowning.”
Williams continued to hint that the problem lies when someone can’t “distinguish, intuitively and without reference to rules, between casual nob-endery and problematic hate speech.”
Waitrose is caught in a row after the editor of its food magazine resigned for making a joke about vegans https://t.co/nzvTT9ursB
— The Times of London (@thetimes) November 1, 2018
And if you were to ask The Times, the issue is also related to Twitter trolls and lack of free speech.
Meanwhile, Nelson wrote an article for the Independent, where she described how she asked for clarification on Sitwell’s comments about vegans but “didn’t get any answers.” And after Sitwell announced his decision to resign, people wanted to know what Nelson thought.
“In the past few hours I’ve been asked repeatedly for my thoughts on the matter. I can’t comment on the precise circumstances of William Sitwell’s departure, but I do think his response – to a pitch from a journalist expecting a professional reply – was a shame, and speaks to a wider problem.”
Additionally, Nelson went on to describe how it’s not right to mock vegans, shame them, or point fingers at them. She describes how vegans can be scorned, or accused of spreading “vegan propaganda.” The freelancer then went on to say that they were encouraged to see the support for veganism throughout the incident, and that there’s greater “support” for the diet.
William Sitwell’s fate may serve to remind editors to never answer an email from a freelancer, says Robert Jackman https://t.co/kOAC86yAln
— Fraser Nelson (@FraserNelson) October 31, 2018