Emily Byrd, a California-based communications manager for the Good Food Institute, wrote this week about her Change.org petition asking In-N-Out to add a veggie burger to its menu.
In her "Veggie burger, or public enemy?" opinion piece for The Times, she described the resulting vitriolic online responses: "Many Facebook screeds calling me: un-American, a fascist, a moron, delusional, an imbecile..."
Times readers were perhaps more polite but mostly dismissive of the petition notion. Our correspondents also point to other issues "uncovered" here — the unrestrained attacks unleashed by social media and clever marketing:
—Sara Lessley, Letters to the Editor department
Conrad Corral in Cathedral City offers some parallels:
Petitioning a "meat" establishment to include a veggie option is like petitioning Fox News to start actually being "fair and balanced."
Diana Jacobs in Los Angeles says simply:
If I want a meaty burger, I do not go to the vegetarian Indian restaurant. The audacity to petition a company to suit your taste is ridiculous at best.
Jeff Schermer in Woodland Hills, a vegan, asks:
As a vegan of 38 years, I find the petition to urge In-N-Out Burger to serve veggie burgers utterly ridiculous. If you don't like what a restaurant serves, don't eat there.
Besides, if you are a diehard vegan, why would you want to support a place that goes against your principles?
Alice King in San Dimas makes an offer:
I love the idea of In-N-Out selling veggie burgers and I will be a steady customer if In-N-Out will promise to use organically harvested soy beans. "Hold the Roundup insecticide, please."
Laura Frisk in Encinitas is surprised:
As a vegan, I consider my lifestyle to be one of kindness and compassion. I thought we had come a long way since I went vegan back in 1996. But it appears the mighty vegan still produces fear in the hearts of carnivores.
William Goldman of Palos Verdes Estates sees a lesson in this:
The vitriol she has suffered… is not at all about veggie burgers. It is about the act of cowardly hateful assault, protected by the screen of social media. Ruthless insult that would never take place in person thrives in the world of the impersonal keystroke. I firmly believe social media has caused a polarization in our society because it facilitates cruel hit-and-run venom with no consequence.
And Mike Peduzzi in Huntington Beach applauds:
What fun to read this piece. I love her feigned surprise at the Facebook reactions. This was, of course, exactly what she wanted. She's a great communications manager. How about a test of your sincerity, Emily? Go to your favorite vegan restaurants and ask them, in the name of diversifying their menus and earning higher profits, to add fried chicken to their offerings. Let us know what happens.