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