Food Magazine Editor Resigns After Email About ‘Killing Vegans’

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The editor of a British food magazine has stepped down after making a joke in an email to a freelancer that he would be keen to develop a series about “killing vegans.”

In his email, Waitrose & Partners Food Magazine editor William Sitwell also suggested other forms of degradation that he would like to see vegans subjected to including “force-feed[ing] them meat.”

“We have 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,” said the magazine in a statement on Wednesday. 

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“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.”

A rep for the company referred TheWrap to their public remarks.

Hi, We understand how you feel and can assure you that William’s email absolutely doesn’t represent our views about vegans and vegan food. Please see our statement here: https://t.co/I9ZCfe4Gms Thank you. – Steph

— Waitrose & Partners (@waitrose) October 31, 2018

The publication is owned by upscale British supermarket chain Waitrose.

Sitwell also apologized “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” in a public Instagram post.

View this post on Instagram

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

The email that ended Sitwell’s tenure with the publication occurred after freelancer Selene Nelson pitched him on the idea of a new vegan food series. Nelson posted screengrabs of the email on Twitter after BuzzFeed initially reported on the story.

“Hi Selene. Thanks for this,” said Sitwell. “How about a series in 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?

“I’m certainly interested in exploring why just the mention of veganism seems to make some people so hostile,” said Nelson in a gingerly follow up. “It sounds like you have some opinions on this.”

Following the article on @BuzzFeed – and in the interests of transparency – here’s my original pitch to the editor of Waitrose, along with my response to his reply. No “triggered vegans” here, thanks! #Vegan #Waitrose pic.twitter.com/bjRon1N0bb

– Selene Nelson ?”? (@Selene_Nelson) October 29, 2018

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Newsweek Chairman and Finance Director Resign Amid Ad Fraud Accusations

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Newsweek announced Thursday that their Chairman and Finance Director has resigned from the company.

“Etienne Uzac and Marion Kim resigned on January 31 from their respective roles as chairman and finance director at Newsweek Media Group,” Newsweek Media Group told TheWrap in a statement.

A rep for the company declined to give any cause for the sudden exits. The departures came one day before BuzzFeed published the findings of an internet watchdog group that accused the company of artificially pumping up its traffic and engaging in ad fraud to secure $3 million in funding from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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The report from the group Social Puncher said that more than half of a digital ad buy by the federal agency went to the websites of Newsweek and International Business Times, both run by Newsweek Media Group.

“The independent federal bureau has bought cheap junk traffic with some share of bots, but made it via ad agency and paid a lot,” the report reads. “The effectiveness of the campaign was very low, close to zero, even when displaying clips for real people.”

“Government money also received pirate sites, as well as advertising systems that cooperate with them.”

The resignations also come just two weeks after Newsweek’s New York City headquarters were raided for unclear reasons by the New York Police Department and district attorney’s office.

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Newsweek denied any wrongdoing in a lengthy statement to TheWrap.

“Newsweek Media Group rejects the allegations leveled against the company in a report published today by BuzzFeed News. Newsweek Media Group does not engage in the fraudulent activities described in this article,” it read.

“The report cited by BuzzFeed News mischaracterizes Newsweek Media Group’s business behavior as unethical and distorts the truth. The company received a fraction of the figure stated by Buzzfeed and more than half of the campaign involved display ad formats, not video, as was wrongly reported.”

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The CFPB purchased the ads through the third-party agency GMMB, according to BuzzFeed.

The Social Puncher report claimed that Newsweek Media Group received 52 percent of the digital ad budget for the campaign, adding that what it called the company’s goosed traffic numbers played a big role in securing those funds.

“As a rule, it selects publications with a large core of loyal readers, as close as possible to the target audience of the campaign. Also, the reputation of the publisher and the effectiveness,” the group said.

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