Waitrose magazine editor quits role after joke about 'killing vegans'

Vegan

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The editor of Waitrose Food magazine has announced he will step down from his role with immediate effect after coming under fire for a joke about "killing vegans".

William Sitwell, who is also a food critic and regular on BBC show MasterChef, suggested "a series on killing vegans" in an email response to freelance journalist, Selene Nelson, who contacted him with an idea for a feature of plant-based recipes for the magazine.

In a statement, Waitrose & Partners Food Magazine said it believed that it was the "right and proper move" for Mr Sitwell to step down as editor.

The statement said: "In the light of William's recent email remarks, we've told John Brown Media that we believe this is the right and proper move - we will be working with them to appoint a new editor for the magazine.

"We have had a relationship with William for almost 20 years and are grateful for his contribution to our business over that time."

 

'Ill-judged joke'

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Morning all. Some news: : John Brown statement, 31.10.18. ‘John Brown Media has today announced that William Sitwell is stepping down as Editor of the Waitrose & Partners Food magazine with immediate effect. Andrew Hirsch, CEO, said: ‘I respect William’s decision and have therefore accepted his resignation. I would like to thank him for his work with ourselves and Waitrose over many years and wish him well for the future. We will work with Waitrose & Partners to appoint a new editor.’ . Waitrose statement, 31.10.18. ‘We have today been informed by John Brown Media, who produce the Waitrose & Partners Food Magazine, that William Sitwell is stepping down as Editor of Waitrose & Partners Food magazine with immediate effect. In the light of William's recent email remarks, we have told John Brown Media that we believe this is the right and proper move - we will be working with them to appoint a new editor for the magazine. We have had a relationship with William for almost 20 years and are grateful for his contribution to our business over that time.’ . Today I just want to make two points. : Firstly, to reiterate my apology to any food- and life-loving vegan who was genuinely offended by remarks written by me as an ill-judged joke in a private email and now widely reported. : Second, a word about my team on Waitrose & Partners Food. For two amazing decades I’ve worked with simply the best crew in the business. There is no more talented art director than Kerry Wakefield, my lovely deputy Jess, PA Morgan, Dr Lucy heading food, Ashleigh on features, Kat and the fab art and subbing team. Thank you - we never stopped laughing (til now!). : This issue from Jan 2017 - with a striking image taken by the gifted Jonathan Gregson - is one I’m particularly proud of. We even refused advertising from those proffering meat-based products.

A post shared by William Sitwell (@williamsitwell) on

In an Instagram post, Mr Sitwell said the joke was "ill-judged" and reiterated his apology to "any food and life-loving vegan" offended by his comments.

He wrote: "Today I just want to make two points. Firstly, to reiterate my apology to any food- and life-loving vegan who was genuinely offended by remarks written by me as an ill-judged joke in a private email and now widely reported.

"Second, a word about my team on Waitrose & Partners Food. For two amazing decades I’ve worked with simply the best crew in the business."

 

'Never seen anything like it'

The recipient of Mr Sitwell's email, Ms Nelson, said she had been shocked by his reply.

She told BuzzFeed News: "I've never seen anything like it. 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.

"And he's the editor. He's representing Waitrose and he's talking about 'killing vegans, one by one'?"

She added: "If William Sitwell wants to continue eating meat and hating vegans, that's his prerogative, but to have this attitude towards others when he's representing Waitrose is seriously bizarre."

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