Celebrity chef to sue vegan activist

Celebrity chef to sue vegan activist

Celebrity chef John Mountain is suing notorious vegan activist Tash Peterson for defamation, claiming she has damaged his reputation on social media.

The Perth chef banned vegans from his restaurant, Fyre, after a dispute with a plant-based diner.

Ms Peterson staged a “disruption” style protest at Mountain’s restaurant. She was charged and is currently before the courts.

The vegan activist allegedly made social media posts online about Mr Mountain, which he claims have brought “hatred, contempt and ridicule” against him.

“It needs to end completely and utterly and it’s not. She’s just constantly posting things,” he told A Current Affair.

“It’s not from her direct that I’m getting issues. It’s from all the followers and the hundreds and thousands of people that look at her posts.”

Mr Mountain added, “So I’ve gone for suing her as full defamation. It is causing me huge amounts of distress.”

He alleges he has received death threats daily as a result of the social media posts.

“It’s not good, it’s not nice, it’s not funny at all,” he said.

The chef said the situation has not been easy and taken an emotional toll on him

“I put on a brave face. I work hard to try and keep my business going,” he said.

“I’ve had quite a couple of staff just leave because they can’t handle it. They just don’t want to put up with it.

“My mental health is not the best as it was before any of this, certainly not helped.

“Aside from all of that, I’m then getting hammered regularly on social media.

“We’ve had some great support. The support from the majority is fantastic.

“But, there’s these people underneath that are just not normal that just causing me more and more grief.”

How the war began

The clash between Mr Mountain and Ms Peterson began after he announced a ban on vegans from his restaurant.

“Sadly all vegans are now banned from Fyre (for mental health reasons),” he said.

This came after a disagreement with a customer who had called ahead requesting a meal that suited her dietary requirements.

The chef agreed to accommodate her request but had forgotten to tell his sous-chef about the special order ahead of the woman arriving.

The customer was plated up a “$32 bowl of vegetables”, later taking to private messages to air her grievances with the restaurant owner.

“My only option was the vegetable dish … it was okay but not that filling … and I was shocked to see it was $32,” the complainant told the restaurant in her direct message.

“I think it’s incredibly important nowadays that restaurants can accommodate everyone and to not be able to have actual plant-based meals shows your shortcomings as a chef.

“I hope to see some improvements in your menu as I have lived in Connolly for quite some time and have seen many restaurants come and go from that building and none of them last.

“If you don’t get with the times, I don’t hold out faith that your restaurant will be the one that does.”

Mr Mountain said he knows part of her complaint was justified, but the woman took it too far.

“Look, I said I would accommodate her, and I didn’t … but she made the complaint personal,” he said.

Despite being “ridiculously” stressed and having lost his partner, forcing him to move from a waterfront property to a “tiny crack house”, Mr Mountain said he wouldn’t have done anything differently.

“Do I regret it? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes,” he said.

The chef has also since scrapped plans to one day build a sister restaurant to Fyre, a plant-based bistro that would have been named Urth.

“Now I’m only opening steak restaurants,” he said.

“I’m going to kill as many animals as I can.”

– with NCA Newswire

Originally published as ‘Huge amounts of distress’: Celebrity chef John Mountain suing vegan activist Tash Peterson