Friday, April 15th, 2011

The Great Vegan Magazine "Meat Photo" Scandal

Did you know about the greatest media scandal of the year? It's pretty great: VegNews, the magazine for vegan eating (vegans don't actually eat the magazine, though yes, they might as well; it has recipes of "actual" food), has been Photoshopping stock photos of real meat dishes as illustration, by removing the meaty bits or just straight up using real meat. Can you imagine the betrayal? It's a little like Out putting straight people on the cover. (Oh, wait, they do that all the time.) It'd be like Forbes putting poor people on the cover! Or Tikkun profiling David Duke! Or Time choosing someone interesting! (Kidding!) But seriously, if I were a vegan, I'd be really totally skeeved out. Reading through the comment thread on the big reveal (which is an incredible document) actually shows not just straight outrage but also a number of people that are upset but wanting to be supportive of the magazine, which issued a really bad apology, in which they note they have more than 1 million readers a month but claiming that it's "industry standard to use stock photography in magazines." (No, it isn't actually?) Unfortunately, a former employee claims that the letter "is filled with outright lies." (via)

31 Comments / Post A Comment

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

"Do you like looking at pictures of meat? How about a juicy beef burger, covered in egg mayonnaise with cow fat dripping off? Perhaps some soft, meaty chunks of chicken breast in chicken stock and cream? What about a pork sausage, oozing in pig fat, fresh from the slaughterhouse?"

Vegans' hyperbolic description of how gross animal products are = Non-vegans' hyperbolic description of how delicious animal products are.

@boyofdestiny Exactly. I was like, LET'S FRY SAUSAGES.

Kevin (#2,559)

@Choire Sicha I'll be over here smoking some brisket.

IBentMyWookie (#133)

@Choire Sicha I'm always suprised that Balk is the fat one.

@IBentMyWookie : Even more surprising, Gutty is a vegan.

conklin (#364)

Except, like, wait: aren't professional stock photos of "meat" just as likely to be playdoh or cardboard or a painted kitchen sponge as actual dead animals?


hman (#53)

@conklin None of your beeswax.

deepomega (#1,720)

@conklin That's not mustard, it's CAULK!!!

Rod T (#33)

See, this is how Tumblr methodology enters print media. Even with this site, how much attribution is given to photo sources. It's something I've always respected about Gothamist; they regularly source their photos. I'm no angel. This was just used on one of my posts:
If I knew the source though, I'd totally post it. (And if I knew the subject, I'd totally marry him.)


saythatscool (#101)

@Rod T You're like Jesus, but without the celibacy.

r&rkd (#1,719)

It would be like Out putting straight people on the cover if the straight people had been chopped to pieces while still alive!

lbf (#2,343)

Comment on the apology:
"I used to be vegan, but after seeing those pics of yours I started eating flesh again because it looked so tasty :("


freetzy (#7,018)

I would eat the high horse right out from under the rant's author.

zoom (#10,138)

This is like Maxim printing unretouched photos of women who eat on a regular basis.

zoom (#10,138)

This is like Maxim printing unretouched photos of women who eat on a regular basis.

zoom (#10,138)

@zoom I heard me the first time.

It's just like MTV actually playing music!

Wait, am I doing this right?

@Clarence Rosario It's like Cigar Aficionado running a spread on PETA.

saythatscool (#101)

@Clarence Rosario It's like Bravo not showing people who irritate the shit out of me.

KenWheaton (#401)

I don't quite get the vegan/vegetarian fascination with making fake meat? Why bother? Just eat your damn fruits, vegetables and grains. Plenty of delicious stuff out there without having to beat and pulp and grind mushrooms and soy into something meat shaped but that will never taste like meat.

@KenWheaton : On the other hand, I eat meat and I love Quorn. It's delicious and science-fictiony at the same time. "Yes, our foodstuffs are grown from giant fungus vats. But there is no time — the ritual of Carousel is almost upon us!"

KenWheaton (#401)

@Gef the Talking Mongoose Mmmmmm, chickienobs.

Brunhilde (#1,225)

@Gef the Talking Mongoose

Renew! Renew!

Skydiva74 (#11,213)

@KenWheaton I'm a vegan and I get this question all the time. I actually loved the taste of meat, but I decided to follow a vegan diet for multiple reasons, like health, environmental issues and compassion. I do love fruits, veggies and grains. But I also love the delicious weirdness of a McRib — so if I can get that kind of goodness without the cholesterol and without killing a … well, where does McRib meat come from anyway? … it's a win-win situation for me. It's not exactly the same, but it's close enough to work for me.

roboloki (#1,724)

it's like fox news actually broadcasting news.

SquarePeg (#1,098)

Vegan drama is the best drama.

oldtaku (#9,009)

Isn't this just the photo equivalent of what vegan cooking ends up being anyhow? Faking meat dishes. Which I've never understood – you can make really delicious all veggie stuff, why bother trying to make fake tofu chicken down to the skin texture? If it's just the challenge, fine, but it doesn't seem to be.

lotl (#11,180)

The thing that seems really crazy about this to me is not the vegan angle, but the fact that they randomly chose stock images to describe recipes…right? Like, wouldn't this become obvious when you cook the dish and it looks like the combination of the ingredients you used, rather than the stock photo of some other dish?

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