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British food magazine editor resigns after joking about 'killing vegans

Waitrose Food magazine editor William Sitwell resigned after making an ill-judged joke about killing vegans. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

The editor of a British food magazine resigned Wednesday after he joked about writing a series of stories on "killing vegans."

The now-former editor at Waitrose Food magazine, William Sitwell, who's also a critic on MasterChef UK, issued a written statement to BuzzFeed News on Monday about the comments he had made in an email Oct. 23 to a freelance journalist.

"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," Sitwell wrote.

The magazine is a John Brown Media publication produced for Waitrose & Partners supermarket chain.

What are the details?

Freelance journalist Selene Nelson told BuzzFeed News that she had pitched a series on vegan cooking in an email to Sitwell.

"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?" Sitwell responded, according to the email obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Nelson, who has been vegan for a little over a year said she was shocked by Sitwell's response to her.

"I've never seen anything like it," she told Buzzfeed in an earlier interview. "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. And he's the editor. He’s representing Waitrose and he’s talking about 'killing vegans, one by one'?

"I’m not judging people who eat meat — I wasn’t a vegan for 28 years of my life," Nelson added. "But 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."

What did the food editor do next?

Sitwell took to Instagram to reiterate his apology following his resignation.

"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 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," he continued. " ... Thank you - we never stopped laughing (til now!)."

What did the John Brown Media say?

"John Brown Media has today announced that William Sitwell is stepping down as Editor of the Waitrose & Partners Food magazine with immediate effect," the company tweeted.

"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."

One last thing…
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