The editor of Waitrose Food magazine, William Sitwell, is resigning after he made comments about “killing vegans”.
In emails seen by Buzzfeed, Sitwell responded to a pitch by a freelance journalist and said: “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?”
His comments sparked outrage among the vegan community and he later apologised “to anyone who has been offended or upset by this”.
A spokesperson for Waitrose said he had “gone too far” in a statement released on Tuesday.
“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,” the statement said.
By Wednesday, a new statement from Waitrose said that Sitwell, who is also a Masterchef critic, was stepping down with immediate effect.
The statement read: “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.”
The vegan journalist who was on the receiving end of his email, Selene Nelson, told Buzzfeed she had “never seen anything like it.
“If William Sitwell wants to continue eating meat and hating vegans, that’s his prerogative, but to have this attitude towards others when he’s representing Waitrose is seriously bizarre.”
The Waitrose Food magazine has a circulation of over 600,000.