After VegFest

It has been roughly a month since the festival and it seems that life is starting to move on. I heard that veg Fest had some record-breaking attendance records. Well that seems to be a pretty inflated figure, it does look like they had a decent amount of people attend the festival this year. 

Since the festival it seems like Harley has been wasting a lot of his online time arguing with a 17-year-old. Sent she is a video blog or with four or five then him and his girlfriend, it’s more than obvious that used yet again fishing for viewers by being controversial.

Thankfully, I haven’t received any more threats or haven’t had any more contact with him or his girlfriend. I am thankful that as well, because I don’t need negative people like that in my life. 

The coproducer of the festival was nice enough to write a response to this blog on my Facebook page. The last comment is from him.

I found the producer of the festival since 2009, and I know he is for the most part a pretty thoughtful guy. I hope they have learned from the situation, that they don’t need to invite controversial and attention seeking bullies in attempt to get more people at the festival.

I was contacted by a gentleman who had lost his girlfriend to cancer. Recently, Harley decided to attack her for having a fundraiser and attempt to seek medical treatment to help her survive.

It seems that yet again another person falls prey to this insidious bully.

On behalf of everyone here at vegans against violence, I wish to share our complete sympathy to all those who are affected by the loss of this lovely lady. I also wish to thank him for coming forward and telling his story and sharing it with us.

There’s nothing I could write that could summarize it as well as he could, so I’m just going to share his post here.

In A Dark Time: VegFest
In the end, I’ve always felt that veganism was an ultimate expression of love. There is no place in our movement for jealousy, greed, wrath, or false feelings of superiority. There is however, plenty of room for love, cooperation, and peace.


Vegfest Thoughts

So a few days before VegFest a member of VAV got an email from the president of towards freedom, the non profit that runs VegFest, stating that Durian Rider was not going to be on any of the stages. 

This felt good. After running a peaceful campaign to ask for the domestic abuse survivors, feminists, and other groups marginalized by Durianrider (and Freelee) it seemed to be the best possible compromise.. Let him attend the festival and greet his fans, but take away his speaking rights for his clearly abusive activities online, infuriating statements, and for threatening people to shut them up.

We asked if there was going to be a public statement saying so. Well, there was one. And we thanked them immediately.

A minute later my post was deleted 

We felt, at the very least, slightly vindicated and listened to. Even though so many wouldn’t listen to us, many did. An outpouring of support and a letter writing campaign bore glorious fruit.

Or so we thought.

First we get a screenshot from a Facebook page:

“Durianrider won’t be on stage but he may follow Freelee on stage”

Ok. That’s bad news. 

Then we notice Durianrider is still being promoted and they haven’t stopped doing so.

Then we get this:

So Durianrider acknowledges that he’s off the schedule but told he will be on stage. Sounds a lot like a bait and switch to me.

I’m not even surprised that his detractors are not even vegan. So if I object to abusive social media behavior, fat shaming, and speak up for abuse victims, gay people, the mentally ill, anorexics… I’m no longer vegan. Thankfully I don’t let anyone define who I am. 

Proud vegan since 2009, helped transform many local restaurants into either being fully vegan or having a vegan options. Providing microloans for small vegan businesses to get a chance to have income and dignity. Researching and developing new vegan products and medicine without animal testing. Yeah. Right.

I didn’t have a lot of time there as it was a day to vote for delegates in the democratic primary and you had to be at your polling center by 3, and with traffic and walking back to my car that means leaving at 2. 

I got to see a few familiar faces and say hello to a few friends. I skipped the long lines since most of the restaurants are ones I already patronize, and just caught up with a few friends. 

I sat in on one talk, the very last minute, hastily planned, and completely non promoted intersectional talk on removing racism, sexism, and homophobia from the AR movement. It was a pretty great talk and even though it felt like an attempt to pacify angry activists, I think it reached a few people. So good job to who ever was involved.

So after voting and meeting anazing supporters for Bernie Sanders I head home to relax. Unfortunately that was cut short.

The VAV team gets multiple reports of DR on stage, microphone in hand, despite what we were promised. 

The image itself tells me a lot. The woman step aside so the man can speak. Distasteful. Telling.

Members and supporters talked about how they felt massively betrayed.

So. What is the truth here? What happened?

1. The producers took him off the schedule but told him to go ahead and go on stage, making them liars

2. The producers told him to stay off the stage but the coordinators working the stages let them speak anyway against the wishes of the president and producers

3. Durianrider went on stage and took the microphone on his own against the wishes of VegFestLA

Really none of these sound good. Some accountability should be made. I want to get to a point where I don’t have to think about Durianrider and his crushing narcissism. I hope that day comes.

For now here are my suggestions:

A. Unfollow both Durianrider and Freelee the banana girl on all forms of social media. Just stop feeding their abusive form of shameactivism. Stop feeding their never ending drama with every other YouTube personality. Consider also unfollowing their associates and accomplices. Stop watching their videos too!

B. Contact them and demand they issue apologies to all the people they have insulted, marginalized, threatened and malagned just to get more followers. 

C. (this is the most important) Follow vegan athletes, celebrities, and personalities who give a positive message, show that true vegans are positive and loving people who don’t shame others to our lifestyle but help others with love, empathy, and humility.

A few I enjoy are following are Holly Works and Rich Roll.

D. Love yourself, even if you’re not skinny or have time to train for four hours a day. Do your best and compare yourself to no one. 

And now a fun video…

A popular vlogger challenges Freelee online

Durian Rider Is No Vegan

nodurianriderFrequently, DR attacks those who criticize him by saying that he is superior, because he has more followers on YouTube and Facebook. He says that if you are not using social media to advance the vegan cause, you are being complacent and doing nothing.

This kind of thinking is a slap to the face to all the hard-working frontline activists who endure hours and hours of ridicule as they protest in places where people profit off the slaughter of animals. This type of thinking is a slap to the face to those who put their own lives at risk to work as undercover operative’s to expose animal cruelty to the world. This type of thinking is a slap to the face to the researchers, scientist, doctors, and technicians who use their hard earned talents to create new information on the benefits of living a vegan and cruelty free life.

If you look at his social media, very rarely does he ever if at all say anything about the plight of animals. In fact, he’s more interested in posting Instagram photos of his girlfriend in her underwear, parading her around like a pimp does his employees. Most of his posts simply attack other fitness professionals and even other vegans.

He is not helping animals, he is protecting his own economic value. He only cares about making money, and will do anything to do that. He should be ashamed at how he exploits his own girlfriend, he should be ashamed at how he shows no solidarity with vegans all over the world doing real work, hard work, painful work, for the animals and not his checking account.

Harley, if you were truly a compassionate person, you would not react when people criticize you. You would not insult anyone who says anything that you do not like. You will stop defending your brand-name like a crazed pitbull. You will stop parading around your girlfriend like she is for sale.

You will show grace, compassion, and only focus on those who you wish to help. That way, even those who are not vegan will see a true inner peace inside of you that they may wish to have them selves.

until then don’t call yourself vegan.


Why we are here

Violence is unfortunately all too common in our society. Animal abuse is all around us with the food we see, the clothes sold to us, the entertainment we are advertised with, to the products we see on the shelves. It’s everywhere. It’s also a sad reality for one out of four women, and one out of seven men. Domestic Abuse is still far too common place and survivors need a sanctuary for solidarity and comfort. We hope to help.

We are intersectional and do not require you to be a vegan to participate. You may post and comment anonymously if you wish. Your safety is our highest priority.

We are Vegans against Violence