On June 8, the news of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s death shocked the world and caused countless people to mourn. While Bourdain brought light into the lives of many through his gastronomic adventures around the world, there were some who were gleeful to see this light go out: Heartless “humane” activists.
Bourdain’s sin? His love of all foods, including meat.
Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns (yes, there is really such a group), gave a particularly tasteless eulogy for Bourdain. In recent blogs, Davis likened Bourdain to infamous Nazis and serial killer Ted Bundy. Davis even goes as far to say that the widely beloved Bourdain “was a monster who could never be missed.”
At a time like this, when America is maturely recognizing a mental health crisis, we should ask ourselves, what is more monstrous? To bring the world closer together as Bourdain did? Or to capitalize on someone’s death?
Not to be outdone was PETA. In the past PETA has portrayed Bourdain as a zombie butcher holding a pig’s head. On June 8, the same day people around the world were still reeling from the news of Bourdain’s suicide, Executive Vice President of PETA Tracy Reiman retweeted a post that said, “If there was a statue to this man, I’d tear it down.”
As the news broke, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk shared an article from the LA Times that covered Bourdain’s death and mentioned his kindness. Newkirk, seeming to not understand or care about how sensitive people were in the moment, couldn’t help herself from saying that the photo used in the article, featuring Bourdain with a prepared hog head on a platter, didn’t make Bourdain look very kind. Unsurprisingly, she received backlash from people telling her how inappropriate it was to use a person’s suicide as a means to further PETA’s agenda. Newkirk doubled down, once again saying people shouldn’t call Bourdain kind. Even the official PETA Twitter account weighed in on the LA Times photo, saying they hoped many more would go vegan after seeing the photo.
PETA and UPC both claim to promote kindness to animals. What about kindness to people?