Death threats follow Pa. vegan's Facebook post about Vegas shootings
WILKES-BARRE -- The Mother Nature Vegan Cuisine food truck is no more.
Delinda Jensen, the 60-year-old owner of the popular business, Thursday said she is out of business, the bright green food truck is in storage, and she is living in fear after a post she put on Facebook incited a social media riot and brought death threats to her door.
“I (expletive) up,” Jensen, 60, said sitting at her kitchen table with her son and business partner, Kyle, 28. “Was it poorly written? Absolutely. Do I regret it? Yes. I am so sorry I wrote that.”
The Facebook post
“Yes I am jaded. Fifty nine meat eaters dead. How many animals will live because of this?”
And Jensen then listed a comment under the post that said:
“I don't give a (expletive) about carnists anymore.”
The posts set off a firestorm on social media with many Facebook users sharing Jensen's post, which included hundreds of hate-filled comments and threats and little defense of her stance.
Jensen said her Facebook post was “poorly written.” She emphatically insisted that she was not celebrating the death of 59 victims of Sunday night's mass shooting in Las Vegas.
“Meat eaters or not, no one deserves to die like that,” Jensen said. “I wasn't celebrating the death of those people. That's not how vegans think -- we are non-violent.”
In trying to explain her motivation for writing the post, Jensen said she wanted to make the point that too many animals are tortured and killed every year -- she estimated 20 billion-plus -- and consumed by humans. Jensen, who said she became a vegan two years ago, said people can eat good food without the inhumanity of abusing and killing innocent animals. She said one vegan translates to saving 155 animals per year.
Since Jensen's post went up late Monday night, she said she has received hundreds of hate-filled comments, phone calls and death threats. She and Kyle said they had to install a security camera system for protection. Kyle said many vehicles have driven by their Mill Street, Wilkes-Barre, home with people shouting obscenities and threats. The Jensens said they had to call the police several times because they feared for their safety.
Jensen said she deactivated her Facebook account, but not before her post was shared by several people whose Facebook friends, in turn, have shared it, causing a nationwide controversy. Jensen said she was told that someone even contacted media outlets in Las Vegas to inform them of Jensen's insensitive post.
“It's almost like a lynch mob is forming,” Jensen said. “It's seems that it's no longer about the Facebook post -- now it's about eating meat.”
Jensen said she is angry at herself for what she called “a moment of stupidity.” She said she felt her vegan business was doing good for people, giving them a healthy alternative. Jensen said she would bring her truck to Public Square on Mondays and it was very popular.
“We even gave food to the homeless for free,” she said.
Jensen said if she could, she would contact the families of all the victims to personally apologize. Instead, as she deals with the loss of her business, she listens to hundreds of threatening voice mails and refuses to leave the safety of her home.
“There's just so much visceral hate out there,” she said.
Jensen and her son have deactivated their Facebook accounts, deactivated all of their electronic devices and put the food truck in a secret storage area.
“We're done, she said. “We canceled all of our booked events. We had a really good product too.”
Jensen said she asked Kyle's friends to go out to buy some paint so she could pass the time painting the walls and ceilings in her home.
“It will be like therapy,” she said. “I have nothing else to do right now. I have no avenue to apologize. I can't even think of going back on Facebook.”
A former adjunct history professor at Marywood University, Jensen said she has no idea where she goes from here -- she doesn't know how she will earn a living.
“I'll just take it one day at a time,” she said. “I understand the tragedies of history -- there's never anything to celebrate. I never once felt yay, yippee, 59 people are dead.”
Jensen said she knows what it's like to lose a loved one -- her husband committed suicide.
In the past few days, Jensen said she and her son have gotten a real sample of the inhumanity and hate in the world. She said the drive-bys have shouted all sorts of horrible things -- profanity, threats -- and they have attacked her for being a vegan.
“We are not bad people,” she said. “We are aware that there are people on social media who have been trying to organize groups to come after us.”
So at night, Jensen and her son lock all the doors and turn out the lights. They leave porch lights on so the security cameras can catch anyone trying to get near them.
“I did write an apology on Facebook right after the post went up,” Jensen said. “It didn't matter. People were already running with it.”
Kyle said he has a degree in culinary arts. He said he is sure he will find another job some day.
“I'm not mad at my mom,” he said. “We are a family. We've been through a lot. But people have destroyed our business.”
Jensen said she always knew people could be nasty, but never to this level.
“This was our life and now it's gone,” she said. “I'm so scared to go out anywhere.”