(US) How the horrible Vegan Sellout List stunt tricked the Internet
- Last week you may have stumbled across ExVegans.com, a list of “Vegan
Sellouts.” It’s a barbed directory of former vegans that exists solely
so that current vegans can publicly shame them, writing descriptions
of their fall back into meat-and-egg eating gluttony. If you were one
of the people that found the site, you probably experienced the
reaction that most people did: outrage, disbelief, heightened
annoyance. It’s the sort of site where you can actually smell the
stench of self-righteousness through your laptop. It was
Internet-shaming to the Nth degree, right up there with Revenge Porn
sites and creepshotting.
Reporters at Gawker, Fox News, The New York Post, The Observer, and a
number of other high-profile sites (including many vegan blogs,
horrified by the bad press this insane list engendered) ran posts
highlighting the Vegan Sellout List, and vilifying it as one of the
worst examples of Internet-shaming to date. The journalists covering
the story linked to the website, obviously, so that readers could see
check out the site for themselves.Vegan Sellout List
And that’s exactly what the creators of the Vegan Sellout List wanted.
Once the controversial site had gathered enough media attention, the
creators redirected the URL; instead of seeing angry take-downs of
former vegans, people who went to the exvegans.com URL were sent to
Veg-TV, a website with information and videos about veganism. The page
that pops up first streams the vegan documentary Meet Your Meat,
narrated by Alec Baldwin. The webmaster for Veg-TV noticed things
picking up as well: “There’s a spike since July 4,” he says.
Peter Young, one of the people behind the Vegan Sellout List and
creator of the Animal Liberation Frontline, wrote a blog post
detailing why the group chose this tactic. He was inspired by Ryan
Holiday, the author of a book called “Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions
of a Media Manipulator.” Holiday is the director of marketing at
American Apparel and has an impressive penchant for generating buzz
So the Vegan Sellout List was but a decoy, but a necessary one toward
the group’s effort. Simply showing the video to media wasn’t a story
that anyone would want to pick up; a site outing ex-vegans though?
That has a hook.
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