Comedian Russell Brand has responded to TikTok star That Vegan Teacher – calling for acceptance and tolerance online.
The star’s latest YouTube video explores how That Vegan Teacher, real name Kadie Karen Diekmeyer, has become a ‘media sensation’.
‘Not what you expect to see on TikTok’
“What is it about her, veganism, and what human beings eat that causes so much controversy?” Brand asks.
“Is it that she’s a bit judged because she’s not what you expect to see on TikTok? Like everything is a bit hippy-dippy… Is it also that people don’t like to be preached at?
“I’m vegan myself but I’ve always tried to stay clear of that kind of political aspect, or at least the evangelical aspect of veganism. But, the fact is, our diet and what we regard as sacred have always been intertwined.”
Brand goes on to explain how hunter-gatherer societies ‘worshipped, revered, and held as sacred the meat or food that they hunted’.
He then adds: “It’s interesting that in the English language there are different words for animals when they’re alive to when they’re served as food…
“But for me, there’s something about the way not eating animals necessarily being fundamentally and entirely wrong but it does seem to be something we need to keep at arm’s length.
“And That Vegan Teacher, in the very first joke of hers that I’ve seen, is sort of satirically and humorously claiming a divine connection…
Is That Vegan Teacher ‘Unaware’?
The celeb says that while veganism is important to him it’s also important that he ‘stop short of judgment or condemnation’ of others based on what they eat.
Responding to That Vegan Teacher’s ‘Eating Animals Is Wrong’ song, Brand said: “Is it that it seems a bit unaware? Is it that? Like it seems sort of overly sincere and reductive. Eating animals is wrong – completely agree with that I’m a vegan. I’m sort of not a real fan of McDonald’s apart from how bloody delicious.
“I agree with everyone’s right to express themselves freely. I’m simply trying to understand why this woman has become the subject and I think that part of it might be a kind of unblinking sincerity.”
Gordon Ramsey vs That Vegan Teacher
The video mentions how That Vegan Teacher attracted global media attention by urging celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay to go vegan.
In one of her videos, Diekmeyer sings the celeb a song, telling him ‘hurting animals is wrong’. She adds: “And if you call me a donut, that’s fine, as long as you’re vegan from now on.”
In response, Ramsay posted a video nodding along to the song whilst eating lettuce. He called her a ‘vegan donut’ and at the end of the video, took a large bite from a burger.
‘Beef burgers were consumed while making this TikTok’ was the caption. Later posting the video on his Instagram account, Ramsay said: “It’s an honor a song was written about me….and now back to my beef burger.”
Controversy and trolling
While That Vegan Teacher has stirred opinions online due to her comparison of animal agriculture to the Holocaust – as well as her use of terms such as ‘meat is murder’.
She also received backlash for arguing that ‘coming out’ as a vegan is ‘more special’ than coming out as gay. While Brand did not mention these points, he did address online trolling.
“If you’re trolling… what is in your heart while you’re doing the trolling?” He asked.
“It’s anger, isn’t it? And sort of disdain and judgment. Now, it can’t really be for her can it? You could completely ignore it.
“Certainly, it would be good if, in my opinion, if more people were vegan. Certainly would be good in my opinion if there was a general sense, particularly online, of acceptance and tolerance. Beyond tolerance actually, because it suggests something is a bit annoying and you’re putting up with it – like a deep acceptance that people are so different.”