Strange things happen when a restaurant dares to serve foie gras in a hotbed of animal-liberation lunatics. And sometimes those strange things are felonies. Last weekend police in Austin, Texas arrested Josh Rosenberg, the self-styled “V-Gangstar” who allegedly vandalized a series of restaurants where the menus didn’t meet with his vegetarian approval. (A security camera outside one restaurant that offers foie gras caught Rosenberg in the act.) He remains behind bars on a $20,000 bond, but the story hardly ends there.
A group calling itself Central Texas Animal Defense (CTAD) has been protesting outside Restaurant Jezebel for weeks, and the foie gras-friendly chef-owner tells The Austin Chronicle that sales of the delicacy are increasing because of the controversy. CTAD, it turns out, is led by Noah Cooper, a former campaign manager at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who has a lot of explaining to do.
Predictably, Cooper is trying to distance himself from Rosenberg’s alleged vandalism, although the Austin American-Statesmen reports that Rosenberg participated in CTAD’s organized protests with Cooper and others. Jezebel’s chef-owner wrote a scathing description of Cooper’s involvement with Rosenberg yesterday, and added some personal notes about what he and his family have been through:
Mr. Cooper is not as distant from the vandal as he claims; in fact he can be seen standing and “hanging out” with Joshua Rosenberg on the surveillance video at every single protest until Mr. Rosenberg’s arrest. Mr. Cooper called and threatened my parents in South Carolina and scared them to a point where they filed a police report and they are in the process of having charges filed on Mr. Cooper et al. I had to close the restaurant (Jezebel) to fly to SC to reassure my mother because she called me crying on the phone. Mr. Cooper stated in a blog involving his girlfriend “restaurateurs are far more likely to listen when their windows are broken or their storefronts are redecorated” …
Mr. Cooper in fact has worked for PETA and has moved to Texas to start up problems. The tactics he uses are not appropriate anywhere.
We couldn’t agree more. Archives of Cooper’s pages on MySpace and Friendster (later replaced with milder language) show an activist whose interests include “militancy,” “anti-capitalism,” and “anarchism.” Cooper wrote on one page:
“[A]nyone involved with the ALF or the ELF are, by default, amazing … Try as you might, you cannot argue with the effectiveness of Ted Kaczynski [and] Leon Czolgosz … [Y]ou’re fooling yourself if you think talk is going to bring social change. Quit TALKING about anarchy, and go f— s— up!”
Kaczynski is the famed “Unabomber.” Czolgosz was the anarchist who assassinated President William McKinley. The ALF and ELF are domestic terrorism organizations. And yes, we “bleeped” Cooper’s last sentence.