Food Magazine Editor Resigns After Journalist Leaks Email About “Killing Vegans”

Food Magazine Editor Resigns After Journalist Leaks Email About “Killing Vegans”
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The editor of a prominent food magazine has quit his role and apologised after a joke he made in an email about vegans was leaked to the public.

William Sitwell, who until this week was the editor of Waitrose Food – the magazine of UK supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners – mocked vegans in an email to freelance journalist Selene Nelson, who was pitching him a series of stories on vegan cooking.

“How about a series on killing vegans, one by one,” Sitwell replied. “Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?”

Nelson replied to Sitwell’s email, questioning what he meant by “exposing [vegans’] hypocrisy, and then shared the email thread on Twitter for all to see.

The leaking of the emails by Nelson received a mixed response on social media, before the branded content agency involved in publishing Waitrose Food, John Brown Media, announced that Sitwell was stepping down as editor of the magazine with immediate effect.

John Brown Media CEO Andrew Hirsch said in a statement: “I respect William’s decision and have therefore accepted his resignation.

“I would like to thank him for 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 & Partners echoed the statement by John Brown Media with one of its own.

“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.

“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.”

Sitwell shared both statements on his Instagram account, and also made two points regarding his departure.

“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!).


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


Included in Sitwell’s Instagram post was an image of the January 2017 issue of Waitrose Food, which he said was “one I’m particularly proud of”.

“We even refused advertising from those proffering meat-based products,” Sitwell added.

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