Chef Fired for Saying He Secretly Fed Animal Products to Vegans

Head chef Alex Lambert learned the hard way not to say ridiculous things to vegans who engage with him online. Lambert, the former head chef at the Littleover Lodge Hotel in Derby, England, started sparring on Instagram with a vegan commenter. By the time it was done, he was out of a job.

Lambert started the fracas, expressing frustration with a vegan customer on Instagram by repeating this tired joke: “How do you know if someone is a vegan? Don’t worry, they will tell you.”

Lambert has since said that he made this online remark “in relation to a customer who had come in and was telling everyone they were vegan, it’s much healthier and better for them and anyone that eats meat is wrong.”

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Photo credit: Thinkstock

He ended up angering many who saw this post. One Instagrammer, whom Lambert called a “militant vegan,” began engaging with him over this joke. According to Lambert, she “began commenting, saying I should go get heart disease and I will be responsible for the death of my daughter by feeding her animal products.”

That’s when Lambert lost his temper and made his mistake. He replied by saying “being a vegan is a minority,” and that the commenter “should find a better way to spend your time, my personal favourite [sic] is feeding vegans animal products and them not knowing.” Oh snap, that’s not good.

It wasn’t clear whether he was serious, but vegans had no reason to believe he wasn’t. The furor began, resulting first in a suspension for Lambert. Negative comments and one-star reviews about the hotel continued to pour in. The Littleover Lodge Hotel had little choice. It fired Lambert. Lambert has since deleted the Instagram exchange from his account.

littleover lodge hotel

Littleover Lodge Hotel, where Chef Alex Lambert once worked. Photo credit: Littleover Lodge Hotel Facebook page

“We have investigated all accusations against Mr. Lambert and found no evidence suggesting that any of these practices have taken place within this hotel,” a Littleover Lodge Hotel spokesman said on its Facebook page. “However, due to the comments made by Mr. Lambert regarding specific dietary requirements, the company has decided to terminate his employment which has been done forthwith.”

Stick a fork in Lambert, he’s done. The only good to come out of this mess is the hotel’s decision to add even more vegan choices to its menu.  This situation raises another important consideration, though. How effectively do vegan commenters advocate for the cause in situations like this?

Lambert’s Instagram account has since been deleted, so we can’t see the exchange fully to judge it for ourselves. It does appear that the vegan commenter ended the battle by saying “Hope you get caught one day, would love to see that. I know we’re a minority and really don’t give a **** because that has no relevance. Enjoy the heart disease. :)”

If indeed the earlier part of this conversation included an assertion that Lambert would be responsible for this child’s death, I’m left wondering how effective this conversation really was. Yes, Lambert got fired — probably for something he never did but stupidly said had happened. Does the world feel more aligned with vegans because of all this attention? I suspect not.

Photo credit:Thinkstock

Photo credit:Thinkstock

There’s effective advocacy and there’s tossing out angry commentary for the hell of it. It seems to me if vegans are going to do battle with the forces of stupidity online, we ought to represent ourselves as intelligently as we can.

Think before commenting publicly. Use some wisdom and savvy when responding to something online that angers you. Shrill responses posted in all capital letters with lots of exclamation points don’t convince anyone. Instead, they make you look a little loony. If you’re interested in how to advocate your position more effectively, the pointers described in this Care2 post will really help.

Was the Instagram commenter who engaged with Lambert the worst example out there? No, certainly not. That said, was it helpful to tell Lambert to “enjoy the heart disease”? It made the commenter feel better. Maybe secretly some vegans got a chuckle.  That’s about all.

With all the public attention paid to this matter, this exchange sounds like a missed opportunity to convey some good factual information.  (“Well, you know, the president of the American College of Cardiology is vegan and recommends a vegan diet to all his patients.  That’s pretty compelling evidence, I’d say.”)

Vegans and animal activists can gain tons of goodwill or lose it completely by how we conduct ourselves and what we say. We need to make it obvious we’re the smarter side of the argument, not the obnoxious, insufferable side.

Animal activists are on the right side of history. One day everyone will know that. Until then, we need to move the cause forward with reasonable, irrefutable arguments. Make easily understood, well considered comments in response to ignorant anti-vegan, anti-animal positions. You never know when your simply stated truth will be the trigger that inspires someone to go vegan.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

155 comments

John B
John B1 months ago

Thanks for sharing the info.

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Barry Wilkins
Barry Wilkins9 months ago

Its ridiculous. People's food choices are their own. My father is 101 years old and eats meat, vegetables and other things. He does not have heart disease and still lives on his own and besides having someone come in and help him a couple hours a day is pretty self sufficient. He drinks a glass of wine every day as well. He used to smoke and drink martini's too until his forties and gave it up. People need to lighten up and stop putting their beliefs and choices onto others. Live your life and stop living others!

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus9 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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sandy Gardner
sandy Gardner9 months ago

Good Riddance!

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Pablo B.
.9 months ago

tyfs

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Pablo B.
.9 months ago

tyfs

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Marie W.
Marie W10 months ago

Online arguments are like kids fighting.

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Suzana Megles
Suzana Megles10 months ago

I'm glad that I make my own vegan food.

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer H10 months ago

This whole things sounds like two two-year-olds throwing a tantrum. Or better yet, two opposing linemen in the NFL trash talking each other. They both get pissed. They both spew BS. Yet only one gets a penalty or time out. That being said I don't believe he did what he said he did but made his comments as an angry retort towards the attack of his family. However, in this day and age of the almighty internet, nothing is private. Lambert should have just shut down rather than keep entertaining the two-year-old vegan. We all have the right to choose. Attacking anybody's choice is wrong and, as others have said, arrogant. He lost his job because the restaurant had no choice. The vegan really didn't win anything. Trying to prove a point in this manner will only toughen resistance against dialogue.

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Teresa Antela
Teresa A10 months ago

Darlene Buckingham I agree with you

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