I never thought I would write this. SuperVegan co-founder Olivia Lane is no longer vegan. Olivia and I have been friends for years, and without her, SuperVegan would likely have never come to exist. I’m sad and I’m angry. Olivia had tremendous spirit, dedication, and enthusiasm for all things vegan. No more.
This morning, Olivia and I, along with her girlfriend, Jessica Valdez, attended the Post Punk Kitchen brunch at Vox Pop. We were running late and just missed the burritos, but enjoyed some tasty waffles. We had a chance to catch up with PPK star Isa Chandra Moskowitz. It shocked us all to see Isa unwrap a slice of Kraft cheese and add it to her own burrito. Isa didn’t see the big deal. She explained that the godfather of animal rights, Peter Singer, had convinced her that there’s no harm in eating “only a modicum” of egg or dairy.
“I’m really OK with animal products, as long as they’re responsibly produced,” explained Isa, “you know – free range, organic. Obviously, the animals need to live a natural life. I’m completely opposed to factory farming.” Disturbingly, she didn’t seem to see a disconnect between this outlook and her career as a vegan cooking icon. “Of course my business and books are still vegan. It’s an important market segment, and I’ve built a strong brand. I won’t be turning my back on the vegan community.”
Jessica and I were outraged and offended by Isa’s callous attitude. But Olivia seemed to be swayed by her arguments. Complaining of chronic incontinence and outrageous prices at Whole Foods, Olivia declared that this would be her “last vegan meal.” Jessica left in disgust, while Olivia proceeded to a nearby Popeyes to “celebrate.” As Olivia explained over her Country Chick-N-Combo Deluxe, “I just wasn’t being honest with myself. I’m tired of all the infighting in the vegan community. There’s no judgments at Popeyes!”
I later had a chance to discuss things with Jessica over e-mail: “I’m not sure where Olivia’s choice puts our relationship. I guess I still love her, but I’m not sure I can trust her anymore. I’m hurt and confused.” I think we all share Jessica’s feelings. We’ll miss you, Olivia.
Update: I realize this is hard for many of you to believe. It’s hard for me too. I’ve just posted some more photos from Vox Pop and Popeyes to the SuperVegan Flickr Pool.