"If we can’t laugh at vegans, who the hell ARE we allowed to laugh at?"


​Responding to a vegan journalist pitching a "plant-based meal series," the editor of Waitrose Food Magazine offered an alternative - including killing vegans and force-feeding them meat - that soon after led to his resignation, the magazine ​announced Wednesday.


William Sitwell, who has worked with the British supermarket chain Waitrose's food and recipe publication for nearly 20 years, replied to Selene Nelson's suggestion for an article on vegan food via email last week.


"Hi Selene. Thanks for this. How about a series on killing vegans, one by one," he wrote. "Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?"


While Sitwell's remarks looked to be tongue-in-cheek, Nelson, a Huffington Post contributor who has been vegan for just over a year, was not amused. Calling his response "hostile," she told BuzzFeed News she'd "never seen anything like it."


"I've written about many divisive topics, like capital punishment and murder cases and domestic violence, and I’ve never had a response like that to any of my articles or pitches," she said.


She added that "having such an angry, vitriolic response to someone who’s simply trying to reduce the harm they cause to animals and the environment is something I can’t understand."

Sitwell, a prominent figure in the culinary world who has appeared as a critic on "MasterChef UK", was apologetic in the aftermath.


"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" he ​told BuzzFeed News in a statement.


That didn't stop users on social media from pouncing soon after the publication of BuzzFeed News' story on Monday.

By Wednesday, the company announced Sitwell was stepping down.


His swift dismissal made some commenters uneasy. 

"TalkRadio" host Julia Hartley-Brewer lamented the oversensitivity of the cultural environment. "This is getting absurd now," she wrote in a tweet, adding, "If we can’t laugh at vegans, who the hell ARE we allowed to laugh at?"