This post regards the breaking news that Chloe Coscarelli, founder of the popular By Chloe franchise, a popular vegan food outlet in USA, has been fired for defending veganism. Specifically, they wanted to expand with non-vegan options, and Chloe was overruled. Many vegans are outraged that the company would do this, and are vowing to boycott By Chloe (in particular, by leaving a 1 star review on their Facebook page).
As usual, I am here to argue that this is probably not as simple as it seems. The world is more complicated than you want it to be!
Surprise, there’s another side to the story. In the past 24 hours it has been revealed that Chloe was actually fired because an arbitrator ruled she was grossly negligent. It also seems possible that the claims about plans to start serving meat were unfounded.
“But Wasser says the claim is “outrageous,” and they never planned to stray from being vegan. She also alleges that Coscarelli has been less involved with the business and has undercut its success for some time.”
“Meanwhile, Wasser just wants people to know that she is committed to keeping By Chloe the same vegan restaurant that it’s always been. Since news broke about the split, people in the vegan community have allegedly been sending Wasser and ESquared death threats — many under the belief that ESquared pushed Coscarelli out so that they could start serving meat products. She doesn’t blame them for supporting Coscarelli but wants them to know her side, too.”
This is fucking scary. I don’t think I’ve sworn on my blog before, so I hope that emphasises how scary I think this is (not as scary as existential risk, but still pretty scary). This is what happens when people jump on a media story before knowing all of the facts. You literally send a death threat to someone who has done nothing wrong, and support someone who was maybe justifiably fired for being grossly negligent.
I don’t blame people for getting upset about this before the second announcement. It’s hard to project forward and foresee such an occurrence. But just think, if it can happen with this story, it can happen with any story. I guess the take away here is to not rush in to action. This can be frustrating when the media cycle generally demands you act fast to get your message out, but it is super important to get your facts straight.
I wonder if boycotting the franchise would have even been a good thing if the first story were true. How much of the new version of the franchise would have been non-vegan? If not much, maybe the positive effects of a mostly vegan company outweigh any negative effects, and we shouldn’t boycott it.
It will be interesting to see if she will start a new franchise. She’ll basically be going in to business against herself, as she is still (presumably) a part owner of the initial business, she just no longer works there. I’ve heard of this happening a lot in the startup world when a founder is disgruntled and removed, then goes into competition against themselves. This most likely isn’t in their best interests, and seems to be driven by emotion.
Perhaps the original story is true and the second is a cover up, or there is still another layer to this, but one thing is for sure – the world isn’t as simple as you want it to be.