They did it all wrong – 5 vegan celebrities who got caught and were bashed on social media

Singer and vegan Ariana Grande is under fire for promoting a Starbucks coffee that uses eggs and a vegan blogger Rawvana was spotted eating fish … How could they?

As much as we love it when celebrities endorse veganism, I personally feel we must take each announcement with a pinch of salt.

Stars, being human just like us, are prone to err while journeying in the vegan world and the lack of authentic information on veganism can lead even the smartest of the lot to “make a wrong turn”. And when they do so, there is bound to be misinformation about the strenuousness of following a plant-based diet.

“Ariana [Grande] says she’s vegan herself. THAT’S the issue with her consuming and promoting a non-vegan drink” – Starbucks employee

With the star power of influencing a large section of society, it is even more essential to recognise and internalise that they too are vulnerable to pitfalls.

Hence, the best we can do for the vegan movement is research, learn and educate ourselves with the right resources.

Check out five prominent figures in the public spotlight who embraced veganism, but sparked criticism after taking a “wrong turn”.

Ariana Grande
Singer Ariana Grande recently confused her 61.5 million followers when the news broke of her collaborating with coffee shop chain Starbucks on a new signature drink, Cloud Macchiato. The ponytail queen, who turned vegan in 2013, announced the launch of the foamy drink on Twitter by asking her vegan fans to try the soya version.

Yet it turned out she was misinformed. The drink cannot be made vegan since the foamy part needs egg whites. The drink also features portions of dry milk, butter and double cream.

If I have one more/ vegan/customer come to Starbucks and ask for a Cloud Macchiato made with soy[a] expecting it to be vegan I’m going to scream – Starbucks employee
Starbucks has been clear from the start – mentioning in its press release the use of egg whites to create the foamy part of the caramel drink.

Understandably, a lot of people were miffed because they believed the Cloud Macchiato to be a vegan drink.

The power of celebrity-spread misinformation can be ascertained with the tweet by a Starbuck employee, who wrote: “If I have one more/ vegan/customer come to Starbucks and ask for a cloud macchiato made with soy[a] expecting it to be vegan I’m going to scream.”

Another employee wrote: “Ariana says she’s vegan herself. THAT’S the issue with her consuming and promoting a non-vegan drink. A LOT of people came to my store today thinking it was vegan”.

I guess Ariana needs to do a bit of homework about vegan food and drinks.

Rawvana is a popular vegan vlogger, with 1.9 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, who has been advocating eating the raw vegan diet.
With separate Spanish and English YouTube channels for her followers all over the world, she has lauded veganism for helping to cure modern day ailments such as poor sleep, obesity, alcohol addiction and stress.

However, she landed herself in hot water when she accidentally appeared with fish on her plate, in a fellow YouTuber’s social media live-feed.
Rawvana reportedly tried to hide the food and deleted several comments, but couldn’t keep up with the latest developments, with social media comments spreading like wildfire.

Rawvana came up with an emotional response in a video, explaining the latest shift in her diet. But the video didn’t seem to go down well with her followers, because she received more than 7,000 dislikes compared with only 2,700 likes.

In the 33-minute-long video, the 29-year-old, whose real name is Yovana Mendoza Ayres, discussed her history of her being a vegan and the health problems she has had to deal with.

She also mentioned missing her periods for two long years after following a 25-day water fast, where she drank nothing but water.

Commenters and fellow YouTubers did not react kindly, either.

One commenter wrote: “OK, so you’re saying you’ve been having these problems for YEARS yet still promoted the diet that was making you sick, then eventually continued to promote a diet you didn’t follow at all? Wow.”

Also read -  Your search for zen without kids ends here - 5 adults only luxury resorts for peace away from home

YouTuber Diego Saul Reyna Español said: “I wasn’t sure if the apology was genuine or not, but when I saw six ads it convinced me.”.

Another person wrote: “If she was caught eating fish & as a result made the video, isn’t it likely that she’s been eating animals for a lot longer than she says … ”

Vegan diet can be easily nutrition balanced by incorporating veggies, fruits and plant-based food products.

Steve-O, the star of the American reality television comedy show Jackass – featuring stunts and pranks – and a long-time vegan, announced he was quitting veganism on YouTuber Jake Paul’s Impaulsive podcast.

The stunt performer, whose real name is Stephen Glover, disappointed not only his vegan fans, but also took to Instagram to accuse them of doing more harm than good by being annoying and combative.

The avid animal rights activist, who is now a pescatarian, posted a series of pictures of himself beside vegetables.

He captioned them with the words: “F*ck, vegans can be annoying. To all the combative, annoying vegans who are choosing to attack me for not forcing veganism on my cats, and for not being a strict, militant vegan myself (even though I haven’t eaten any meat other than fish for well over 10 years), please consider that you’re doing more harm than good. Maybe stop working so hard to pit people who are on your team against you.”

However, his latest “stunt” was contrary to the Farm Sanctuary video he narrated, in which he urged pescatarians to become vegan since fish are intelligent, social, and sentient living beings who feel pain.

The video was reposted by the campaign group, Boston Fish Save, after Steve-O put out the controversial Instagram post.

One of the comments on Steve-O’s post read: “You protested SeaWorld bro. You know fish are sentient and feel pain just like us. They want to live just like us. As a vegan animal rights activist I will not back down. That doesn’t make me or anyone else combative but it shows we have compassion which you have been seeming to lack”.

Another person wrote: “You should take a step back and think about the fact that you are currently arguing on the side of animal abuse … It is genuinely disgusting how desperate you are to deflect from the fact that you are completely unwilling to stop abusing animals for the sake of your taste experiences and conveniences.”

American television host Ellen DeGeneres, who has stopped being a vegan after eight years.

Ellen DeGeneres
American celebrity Ellen DeGeneres announced she was becoming a vegan eight years ago for ethical reasons after she watched a documentary on animal rights, called Earthlings.

She and her wife, Portia de Rossi, had been one of the most popular vegan power couples. The television chat show host and comedienne even had a “Going Vegan with Ellen” section on the website of her widely watched programme, The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

DeGeneres came under fire during the promotion of the cartoon film, Finding Dory, where she joked about eating fish as a revenge for the offer of the sequel to Finding Nemo taking so long.

“I’m not really vegan; I say it for the joke. I was vegan for eight years and I really believe that it’s great for you
Ellen DeGeneres, Netflix’s ‘Relatable’”

She said, “When we did Finding Nemo I was eating fish, and then I became a vegan for most of those years. And then I just started recently eating fish, [which was] retaliation for no sequel. I don’t eat blue tang, and I rarely eat fish. I don’t eat meat or anything, but I don’t really enjoy eating fish.”

Last year in December, she confirmed she had stopped being a vegan after trying for a long time to avoid answering the question. She made the announcement on her Netflix stand-up show, Relatable, which marked her return to the stand-up comedy genre after a break of 15 years.

She said during the show: “I’m not really vegan; I say it for the joke. I was vegan for eight years and I really believe that it’s great for you”.

DeGeneres then goes on to say she started eating a piece of fish once in a while or eggs if she knows the chicken were in someone’s backyard or ‘“happy”.

View this post on Instagram

As many of you may know by now I am no longer eating a vegan diet. Feeling the night and day difference in many aspects of my health since coming to the hard long thought out decision to let it go has led me to a new understanding that I am at peace with. 😌 I’m grateful for the journey and regret none of the lengths I went through in a committed effort to make the diet work before life led me to the realisation that for this moment in this lifetime to let go of my attachments and beliefs which were holding back my health. 🔎 This decision came as a shock to my friends and business partners at @ethcs and after a lot of discussion we decided the company would remain vegan focused and we should part ways. 🌱 Now i don’t see myself as less ethical simply re-evaluated ethics in alignment with new beliefs. I was vegan for earth, my health and the animals. Now I’m not vegan for the earth, for my health and for the animals. Conversation for another time. 🌎 I understand the vegan mindset and am content to move on to a new chapter and I wish them all the best. 👏🏼 Just wanted to post to thank anyone who has ever supported ETHCS (or ethics and antics). I’m truly thankful and it’s beautiful that we aligned at one stage, perhaps we’re still aligned or will again in the future. ➰ The ‘know thyself’ journey and what it is to be human deepens every year. 🧘🏻‍♂️ Truth spirals, stay open. 🕊

A post shared by Tim Shieff (@humantimothy) on

Tim Shieff
Tim Shieff, the English freerunner and Ninja Warrior UK television contestant, is also a popular YouTuber known for his vegan lifestyle.

However, the co-founder of the popular vegan clothing line, ETHCS, was dropped by the company after he recently admitted to eating eggs and fish.

Shieff upset a lot of vegans all over the world when he blamed the vegan diet for his lack of orgasms.

He posted a 16-minute-long video titled Am I Still Vegan?’ on his YouTube channel, partially crediting the shift to the inability to experience the “ultimate bliss”.

During the time he was on a vegan diet, he also went on a 28-day water fast, in addition to drinking his own urine for two years.

Apart from lack of orgasms, other reasons he gave in the video for leaving veganism were experiencing fatigue, brain fog, and digestive issues, waking up stiff, and yawning all the time.

One of the comments on the video said: “Mate you did water fast for 30+ days and drank your own piss for years. How can you not take full responsibility for that and properly take blame?”.

Another post read: “Look at what you were doing to attempt to heal yourself. It was completely insane! Not supplementing B12 or Omegas. Drinking your own piss. Fasting for 30+ days on distilled water. Staring at the sun. Eating only raw food. Avoiding tonnes of different foods. Avoiding medical help because it doesn’t fit your spiritual model. 50 bucks says if you went to a doctor who had even some knowledge of a vegan diet they would have found whatever the issue was for you.”

Note – This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website

Tags from the story
Written By
First published in 1903, the South China Morning Post is Hong Kong’s premier English language newspaper, providing news 24/7, in-depth and quick scan reads, informative infographics, critical analysis, community discussions plus access to the most comprehensive news archive in Hong Kong. Over the decades it has built an enviable reputation for authoritative, influential and independent reporting on Hong Kong, China and the rest of Asia.