Do people hate vegans? Good Morning Britain debate sparks controversy

Do people hate vegans? GMB sparks controversy after radio presenter guest Niall Boylan calls non-meat eaters ‘irritating’ – but Adrian Chiles says no animal should die to be food

  • GMB hosted a lively debate on the reason people choose plant-based eating
  • Recent vegan Adrian Chiles and anti-vegan radio host Niall Boylan appeared
  • Follows controversial response from Waitrose editor to a journalist who asked for more vegan recipes and he suggested a feature on ‘ways to trap vegans’
  • He added it could include force-feeding them meat and exposing ‘hypocrisy’ 

A lively debate over whether people ‘hate vegans’ has left Good Morning Britain viewers divided.

The ITV daytime show welcomed recent meat-free convert Adrian Chiles on to its panel, along with Irish radio host Niall Boylan, who claimed that vegans were ‘irritating’ and ‘annoying’.

While some fans took to Twitter to agree with Niall’s controversial statement, many sided with Adrian’s opinion that ‘no animal needs to die to feed me’.  

One vegan viewer fumed: ‘Ridiculous debate on “why people hate vegans” @GMB I choose to be vegan because of the horrendous suffering and terror I have seen animals go through to provide a fleeting and replaceable taste of meat or dairy! 

‘Good to know I’m hated for NOT wanting to hurt animals, WTF! #GMB’ 

Recent vegan convert TV presenter Adrian Chiles defended his decision to go plant-based, while Irish radio host Niall Boylan claimed that vegans were ‘irritating’ and ‘annoying’

Viewers were divided over the lively debate, with some agreeing with Niall’s controversial statement while Adrian’s suggestion that humans didn’t need to kill animals to feed was applauded

‘All our lived we’re told to eat more vegetables and then when we go vegan we’re completely bombarded by people with no qualifications telling us we’re going to be deficient in protein of calcium or B12 or iron or anything else @GMB,’ added another.

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Those against the plant-based diet said: ‘The point is that vegans just have to tell you and keep telling they are vegans and generally tolerant if you are not. They are like radical preachers.

‘I don’t mind what anyone wants to eat or not eat but please please stop telling me if your[sic] a vegan and how I should live my life thank you,’ said another. 

It follows the furore earlier this week after Waitrose editor William Sitwell had told vegan freelancer Selene Nelson that he could feature force-feeding them meat and exposing ‘their hypocrisy’.

Selene told MailOnline she was ‘shocked’ by his hostile reply to her pitching a ‘plant-based meal series’ for the supermarket’s magazine.

Sitwell replied: ‘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?’ 

The radio host defended comments made by Waitrose editor William Sitwell, saying that the journalist who asked for more plant-based recipes ‘was looking for a reaction and she got a reaction’

Viewers watching the debate took to social media to discuss the issue people have with vegans with others suggesting that everyone is entitled to eat what they want

Selene Nelson (left) was shocked when William Sitwell (right) responded to her pitch by suggesting a series on killing vegans after she asked for more plant-based recipes

During his appearance on GMB Niall defended the Waitrose editor saying it was a ‘bit of dark humour’ and that journalist Selene ‘went over the top’ in her response.

‘She was looking for a reaction and she got a reaction, I don’t think he genuinely meant he was going to start chopping people up. That is a bit sinister.

‘The backlash he is getting is completely out of hand. I mean [vegans] are irritating.

‘If you read the whole piece, it is a bit of dark humour, the guy clearly had a sense of humour.’

Asked by host Susanna Reid about why Niall had such a problem with vegans he reiterated: ‘Because they are irritating, they are annoying.’

Adrian argued his decision to stop eating meat was after he saw a lamb slaughtered.

‘From my point of view I was making a documentary, about religion actually, I was in Istanbul for Eid and I’ve been a fanatical meat eater all my life. I love cooking it, I love eating it, I have friends who are butchers and all the rest of it.

Good Morning Britain debated why people hate vegans, with Niall saying they were ‘irritating’ and Susanna said that eating meat was all part of the food chain

Niall and Adrian disagreed with each other on people who choose to be vegans as they argued about how it was helping the environment

‘I had to take this lamb to be slaughtered and I was with this lamb and I saw the look in it’s eyes as it was joining the queue to be slaughtered and then I saw the moment it died.

‘Just seeing the moment it died, I was like “hang on” and then I had to go and eat it an hour later. I don’t think any animal has got to die to feed me.’

Susanna, who explained that she was a pescetarian, only eating fish suggested that eating meat was about the food chain: ‘Animals go out and eat other animals, you’re having an emotional reaction.’

Adrian responded: ‘We can’t base how we behave on the behaviour of animals, dogs go round sniffing each other’s bottoms I don’t know what goes on around where you live, I assume you don’t do that… 

‘We’re more highly evolved than animals so we shouldn’t have to go and kill them.’

Susanna got the case of the giggles during the discussion as Adrian asked whether humans should follow everything that animals do, including when dogs smell each other’s behinds

Sitwell apologised to ‘anyone who has been offended or upset’ by the email – which was first reported by BuzzFeed News – as a spokesperson for the chain said he had ‘gone too far’. 

The magazine claims on its website to have 680,000 readers. Sitwell writes for several UK publications and is a critic on Masterchef UK.

HuffPost and Food Republic writer Nelson said she has never experienced such hostility when pitching to a media platform.

‘I was just shocked because I had never had a response like that,’ she said. ‘I said to him that it “seems like you have some strong opinions on this”.’

She says then wrote to her again suggesting that millennials were ‘do-gooders’. Nelson stressed she wasn’t telling him to become a vegan, just include a few more plant-based recipes.  

A spokesperson 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.’

A spokesperson for Waitrose said that the editor’s remarks went too far and branded the email ‘extremely inappropriate’

Sitwell said in a statement: ‘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.’

But earlier this year, writing about 2018’s ‘foodie trends’ in The Times, he slammed an ‘avalanche’ of vegan cookbooks. 

‘Then, like an avalanche of Tory ministerial resignations, came the vegan snowball,’ he wrote. ‘It had slow beginnings among shampoo-averse hippies in the 1970s, but now vegans are parking their tanks on all of our lawns.’

Nelson believes hostility toward vegans is driven by a fear that plant-based diets threaten the food they already enjoy.

‘I think a lot of food writers tend to be quite traditional and view vegans as having an impact on the things they like,’ she said. ‘But it [my pitch] was just about trying to include a little bit more plant-based recipes. You don’t have to be vegan and three’s nothing I said in my pitch about meat being bad.’

She added that she accepts his apology but said as an editor it would benefit him to be more open to plant-based recipes. 

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