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Food Magazine Editor Under Fire After Joke About Killing Vegans Backfires

Food Magazine Editor Under Fire After Joke About Killing Vegans Backfires
Twitter: @Selene_Nelson, @stop_hannahtime

Waitrose & Partners is a chain for British supermarkets. Under its umbrella is Waitrose Food Magazine, a publication that focuses on food articles and recipes. Seems innocent enough. But the magazine's editor recently came under fire, and was forced to step down after making some inappropriate "jokes."

The editor is named William Sitwell and the joke that caused controversy was about “killing vegans.” He made this joke in response to a vegan freelance journalist pitching work to the magazine.

Journalist Selene Nelson said the response came after she suggested “a series on vegan cooking”, with plant-based recipes, to Sitwell for the publication.

The email conversation between Sitwell and Nelson was published by BuzzFeed, and Nelson tweeted the email exchange after the article came out.

This is Nelson's original email, with the pitch to Waitrose Food Magazine:


This is Sitwell's response:


Sitwell wrote:

"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?"

Selene responded with this:


Speaking about the email on Twitter, Nelson said:

“I legit thought it was a hoax too when I got the reply … very strange when he could have just said ‘No thanks, I’ll pass’.”

People on Twitter agree. One user was very angry about Sitwell's response and dared Waitrose to respond:

Sitwell also responded, and 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 apologize profusely to anyone who has been offended or upset by this.”

In addition to editing Waitrose’s food magazine, Sitwell has frequently appeared as a critic for contestants’ work on food competition Masterchef UK. No word has been given on whether or not that will continue, but he has stepped down as editor for Waitrose Food Magazine.

People sympathized with Nelson and voiced their disgust with Sitwell:

Some people told Nelson how much they liked her idea:

Many complimented Nelson on her classy response:

Sitwell not only damaged his career, but Waitrose's reputation. A new editor will likely calm the rage however:

Let this be a lesson to all: joking or not, hateful comments toward anyone should never be made.

A version of this article originally appeared on Press Association.