Celebrity chef John Mountain is suing controversial vegan activist Tash Peterson for defamation, alleging that she has tarnished his reputation online.
The Perth-based restaurant owner banned vegans from eating at his establishment following a public row that erupted between him and a plant-based diner.
Peterson enacted a “disruption” style protest at Mountain’s restaurant Fyre. She was subsequently charged and is, at present, before the courts, reports news.com.au.
The plant-based activist reportedly made various social media posts slamming the renowned chef, which he claims harvested “hatred, contempt and ridicule” against him in the public sphere.
“It needs to end completely and utterly and it’s not. She’s just constantly posting things,” he revealed to 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.”
Mountain went on, “So I’ve gone for suing her as full defamation. It is causing me huge amounts of distress.”
The chef claims that he received death threats on a daily basis after the social media posts were made.
“It’s not good, it’s not nice, it’s not funny at all,” he said.
Mountain added that the online hatred had not been easy to navigate. In fact, the severe backlash had taken an emotional toll on him.
“I put on a brave face. I work hard to try and keep my business going,” he confessed.
“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 it all started
The ongoing feud between Mountain and Peterson started after he announced that vegans could no longer dine at his restaurant.
“Sadly all vegans are now banned from Fyre (for mental health reasons),” he said.
His decision to do so came after having a disagreement with another customer, who called prior to visiting his restaurant to request a meal that adhered to her dietary requirements.
Mountain agreed to accommodate her food request, however he forgot to inform his sous-chef on the night about the special meal prior to the woman arriving.
The guest was given a “$32 bowl of vegetables”, and aired her disappointment in a private message to the chef.
“My only option was the vegetable dish … it was okay but not that filling … and I was shocked to see it was $32,” she companied to the restaurant in her 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.”
Mountain later on admitted that part of her issue was understandable, however the woman went a step 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 losing his partner, which saw the chef move from his waterfront home to a “tiny crack house”, Mountain confessed that he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“Do I regret it? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes,” he shared.
What’s more, Mountain has since binned plans to start a sister restaurant to Fyre, a plant-based bistro that he had planned to name Urth.
“Now I’m only opening steak restaurants,” he revealed.
“I’m going to kill as many animals as I can.”
This content was originally published here.