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Waitrose mag editor William Sitwell 'did not deserve to lose job' over 'killing vegans' remarks, says majority of poll voters as journalists react

Two-thirds of voters in a Twitter poll for Press Gazette thought Waitrose Food magazine editor William Sitwell did not deserve to lose his job over his “killing vegans” remarks in an email reply to a freelance pitch.

The results come as journalists registered their outrage at the BBC Masterchef judge’s resignation yesterday over the comments, which were first reported by Buzzfeed News.

In his reply to a pitch about a “plant-based meal series” for the in-house supermarket magazine from freelance Selene Nelson, Sitwell said: “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?”

Sitwell’s departure from the John Brown Media title made the front page of the Evening Standard’s second edition yesterday and today’s Times, having stoked fierce debate over freedom of expression.

Press Gazette editor-in-chief Dominic Ponsford has called his resignation another victory for the “censorious Twitter haters”.

Other journalists and politicians have also shared their thoughts…

John Brown Media has said it was now working with Waitrose to find a replacement editor for the magazine, which distributes just under 700,000 copies, according to ABC figures for the six months to the end of June 2018.

In an Instagram post on his resignation, Sitwell wrote: “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 and Partners Food. For two amazing decades I’ve worked with simply the best crew in the business.”

The food and travel writer Selene Nelson, who passed the email on to Buzzfeed News as part of a pitch for a piece on hostility to vegans, has since written an opinion piece for the Independent.

Following the “backlash on social media” to Sitwell’s resignation, she said: “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.”

Comments

3 thoughts on “Waitrose mag editor William Sitwell 'did not deserve to lose job' over 'killing vegans' remarks, says majority of poll voters as journalists react”

  1. Joke allergy warning: The following may contain humour.
    The sad thing is the veggie snowflakes will die off anyway, from either malnutrition or choking to death in their fart-filled bedrooms.
    OK cops; come and get me.

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