A couple whose string of trendy vegan restaurants in California is popular with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé, Emma Stone, and Woody Harrelson are under attack after it was discovered they've been eating meat for months, the Guardian reports.
"This is a vegan restaurant company that's been a leader in the vegan community," one critical vegan tells the Hollywood Reporter. "A lot of vegans have a right to feel betrayed by this."
Matthew and Terces Engelhart had been vegetarian for 40 years—vegan for a dozen of them—before deciding to raise animals and eat them on their Be Love Farm in February 2015.
“Cows make an extreme sacrifice for humanity but that is their position in God’s plan as food for the predators,” Matthew says in a statement, per the Guardian.
“We can be part of that sacrament.” The Engelharts wrote about that decision on their blog last year, even including a photo of Matthew eating a hamburger in a later post, but no one really noticed until animal rights activists discovered the posts last week.
Now the couple—whose Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre restaurants feature dishes with names like "Accepting" and "I Am Humble"—are receiving death threats, protests, boycotts, and one-star Yelp reviews.
"Here's a new dish for Cafe Gratitude - I Am MURDERER!!!" the New York Daily News quotes one such review as saying.
"It saddens me that the choices we made in the privacy of our home would lead people to feel so betrayed that it's elevated to threats on our lives," Matthew tells the Hollywood Reporter.
But critics say that personal decision "looks kind of shady, like they are hiding things," says one healthy lifestyle blogger.
"Veganism is a belief system," says the organizer of a Facebook boycott page.
Matthew and Terces Engelhart posted this statement on the Cafe Gratitude Facebook page:
This article originally appeared on Newser: Vegan Restaurateurs Eat Meat, Get Death Threats
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