Tuesday 28 November 2023

Self Portrait Sitting in the Middle of a Doomed Movement.

Disruption: the Stupidest Philosophy in the History of Political Science.

Quote, "This is buttercup, and she's someone, not something." [Timestamp = 1 minute 30 seconds]

ON SOME LEVEL everyone in the organization knows THIS DOESN'T WORK.

They did it a hundred times.  Some of them did it a thousand times.  It never worked.

They changed their methods without ever admitting that the old methods were wrong, and without setting out what their hopes and expectations were for why the new methods might be better.

And thus the cycle could continue: with the refusal to admit that the new methods weren't working, either.

Exactly the same pattern with X.R. in England.

For some mysterious reason DxE stopped running out into the middle of the field in the middle of a football game: they never admit why.  They're spending a million dollars a year ON NOTHING, while promoting what could fairly be called the stupidest philosophy in the history of political science.  And it's a million dollars they "earned" with stupid, fame-whoring stunts like running out into the middle of a stadium.

There never was any "social science research" to support ANY of their preferred methods —and there never was any recourse to social science research when switching from one method to the next.

It's a scam about a scam for the sake of a scam.  And there are victims: unlike my philosophy, people's lives are ruined by putting Wayne's philosophy into practice.

Friday 24 November 2023

And, irony of ironies, Wayne Hsiung is STILL anti-vegan in 2023… but nobody in the vegan movement seems to care!

This is Wayne writing in July of 2023, BEFORE going to prison in handcuffs, I should note:

In 2007, motivated by my readings in social movement research, I penned an article with an infamous title: Boycott Veganism. The title was clickbait. I was not, in fact, boycotting veganism but arguing that consumer activism was insufficient to create social change.

Multiple vegan forums exploded with angry responses after I posted an early draft. I was criticized for being oppressive, arrogant, traitorous, and – most commonly – downright stupid.


But something strange happened, over time. A small number of people actually read the article, rather than just the headline. And many were swayed by the logic. Two points were key. First, I argued that veganism, as a narrative strategy, could not inspire people to anger or hope - the key ingredients to social change.

What we needed, I argued, was something different: direct action. Giving aid to animals directly was the right narrative strategy because it focused on animal cruelty, and our ability to stop it. Unlike veganism, it had the power to enrage and inspire. And direct action could expand the scope of the movement’s support, by focusing on identities (e.g., animal lovers, families with pets) that were much larger and influential than vegan consumers. It was a movement strategy that could mobilize the masses, rather than just a small dietary niche. […]

[Digression:] Is there ANY EVIDENCE that Wayne's strategy has mobilized (or "inspired") large numbers of non-vegans, rather than a tiny cult group, much smaller than veganism qua "a dietary niche"?

In the early 2010s, effective altruism (EA) was just beginning to capture the attention of animal advocates.


A closer examination of good scientific research around leafleting and other forms of so-called impersonal outreach, i.e., trying to persuade someone you have no other relationship with, showed dismal results.

The Science or Science-y blog post, like Boycott Veganism, generated an enormous amount of hate. The leaders of a few prominent animal rights organizations called me a mole for the meat industry, publicly, and would tell everyone they met at animal rights conferences that I was damaging the movement. But as with Boycott Veganism, the critique gained a following. A prominent (non-vegan) effective altruist thinker, Jeff Kaufman, began to question the conventional wisdom on the effectiveness of vegan advocacy. And the leaders of Animal Charity Evaluators, a prominent EA organization that had been extremely hostile towards my work (and towards me personally, for reasons I never fully understood) eventually ran a study in 2017 showing that vegan outreach probably had no effect at all.

That left the movement in a tough spot, after years of focusing on outreach above all other interventions. What do we do instead?

[Commentary:] So, yes, the man who led the campaign "it's not food, it's violence", that consisted of teenagers (like Zoe Rosenberg) breaking down weeping in a restaurant while screaming at random patrons claims that his methods have scientifically verifiable outcomes, whereas his rivals' methods do not, etc.

The burden of proof still lacking to demonstrate that Zoe Rosenberg screaming at strangers or Cassie King pouring blood on herself (publicly) has positive outcomes is considerable: I do not mean this from a position of phony skepticism.  I do not mean to insinuate that any kind of political action faces an insurmountable burden of proof as to its efficacy.

Genuinely, it is more difficult to believe that Zoe Rosenberg is succeeding in changing the world than it is to believe that the earth is flat: someone could show me scientific evidence that would change my mind about the shape of the planet, whereas it is genuinely impossible to imagine that there could ever be any evidence to vindicate the tactics used by Zoe, Cassie and Wayne.

It is not difficult to believe that what the Israeli military is doing right now will change the world: it would be phony skepticism indeed to ask aloud, "How can it possibly make a difference to hunt down and kill the leaders of a rival political faction, and to demolish their political-and-military infrastructure?"  Although we may not be able to predict the outcomes in Israel, there is no doubt that there will be outcomes.

What Wayne has been advocating (for so many years) genuinely belongs in the category of political actions so counterproductive that we may question —after the expenditure of so many millions of dollars, and the ruination of so many people's particular lives— whether or not there are any outcomes at all.

Nobody has ever complained about the negative outcomes of my philosophy (and of their own attempts to put it into practice) as Rachel Z. now complains about DxE in retrospect —after the somewhat sobering experience of facing the possibility of a criminal conviction in a court of law (as a result of Wayne Hsiung's preferred method and mode of activism).  The methodology set down in my books (all two of them) will not ruin your life, and will not cost anyone millions of dollars.

But here we are in 2023, when the evidence for the inefficacy of Wayne's philosophy has had quite some time to stack up, and he is still defending his anti-vegan (and frankly pro-violence) position from 2007.

The parallels to Roger Hallam's XR (Extinction Rebellion) and its sequels (Just Stop Oil, etc.) are so close that my refutation of one serves as a refutation of the other: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB33D8_jsrU

At what point do the proponents of empiricism admit that the empirical evidence is against them?

Delinquent: the Simple Heart Initiative suspiciously started by Wayne Hsiung…

 …after he resigned his position as the leader of an organization with a budget of a million dollars per year created to do exactly the same thing.

I wonder if —formally or informally— DxE promised to transfer funds to support Wayne's new charity, as a sort of "golden parachute" package, when he handed over control to Cassie King, etc.

There is no "Form 990" information available for "The Simple Heart Initiative" created by Wayne Hsiung: if it had been delinquent in its paperwork before he went to prison, I assume it will only become more delinquent hereafter.

FEIN / EIN: 882248389 / 88-2248389 (sometimes you need to search with the hyphen, sometimes without it)


Eisel Mazard vs Wayne Hsiung: Torn from the Comment Section.

A Crocodile on Dry Land.

All the evils men do to attain power are minuscule compared to what they they will do to remain in power, once they've become accustomed to it.  A crocodile wandering on dry land is less dangerous than one that has become accustomed to your bathwater.

Source / context: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bujT4WAK36M

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Infighting: Victims of a Movement that Doesn't Move.

[My comment:] Dude, think about how petty this is: Roger Yates "canceled" you for saying something vaguely positive about Alicia Silverstone.  Yates has grey hair with a PhD.  And he came to the conclusion that you are "sexist and racist".  You are playing on the wrong team within the wrong team.  Yeah, you say that I'm hated and despised: can you imagine me insulting and reviling you in the way that Roger Yates did?  One step further: do you think I'd ever be as unreasonable in criticizing you as you were in criticizing me?  Different people are playing different games by different rules: the vast majority of vegans are playing by a set of rules that are —in brief— evil.  Rachel Z. has turned around and said that DxE is a cult and she regrets losing 8 years of her life to it, and (of course) condemning Wayne Hsiung: do you think anyone has ever said anything like that about my philosophy?  People like Roger Yates are stuck in the endless downward spiral of trying to rationalize a sunk cost fallacy: they're the greatest victims of the vegan movement (seriously: his life has been RUINED by this movement!) but they refuse to recognize their own victimhood (as Rachel has) so that they can continue pretending to be leaders (for an ever smaller number of followers).

[Note:] You do not need to watch the video, below, to understand the significance of the comment above, but… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aB8r9GAbe4

Repercussions: "I hope you die in jail" breaks on through to the other side.

This is not a criticism of a criticism (because that would be like architecture about architecture, right?) but I'd just point out: it is really dishonest (facile) to say, "Well, what has a-bas-le-ciel accomplished in the last ten years compared to Wayne Hsiung?" —and then to treat this as a fait accompli condemnation of everything I've done with my life, without so much as a glance at my résumé.

DxE has burned through a budget of a million dollars per year, has done a lot of harm, and zero good, IMO: if you were actually willing to consider (1) what I've done with my life and (2) the model of activism I recommend (in Future of an Illusion) contrasted to Wayne's methodology (that requires millions of dollars and will put you in jail)... it doesn't occur to you that some percentage of intelligent people might actually think Wayne is on the wrong side here.

I'm not the one telling teenagers to chain themselves to machinery and get arrested: Wayne is.  I'm not the one telling people to get naked and cover their bodies in blood, running on stage at a Bernie Sanders rally: Wayne is.  You don't have one word of criticism for that. 

Guess what?  I learned Chinese within the last ten years: Wayne literally can't pronounce his own name in Chinese.  Is learning Chinese a waste of time?  Yes, but compared to what?  Compared to sitting in jail?

Both what I've done and what I urge others to do (in Future of an Illusion) really is superior to both what Wayne preaches, and his own imperfect practice thereof.

And here's the link to the original video that inspired the criticism, titled: I hope you die in jail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prE_jmvkS3I

His reply:
Fair play. This is just a reaction to your one video. I'm actually a fan of your work in many ways. I'd love to have you on the preshift to talk with me some day soon if you'd be willing.

My reply to his reply:
If you had a daughter, you would not want her to turn out like Zoe Rosenberg.  Nor like Rachel Z.  You probably would not want your daughter to meet and spend time with Z.R. & R.Z.; you definitely would not want her getting arrested doing the same things that Z.R. & R.Z. have done.  This may seem like an irrelevant reply, but it's devastatingly relevant, if you're willing to allow yourself to think it through and be devastated.  :-/  @VeganofCourse

Monday 20 November 2023

What we do next: the flow chart to end all flow charts.


• Studying Latin
  + Possible at UVic.
  - Not aware of anywhere BETTER THAN Uvic.
         [Insert joke about Jordan Peterson University here.]
  - Short term future difficult to endure.
  - Long term future difficult to imagine.
  - Professors would probably hate me; the other students, also, would
probably hate me.
  + Relatively meaningful in terms of "the meaning of life".
  - Relatively dubious in terms of one's ability to make a positive
difference in the world.
• Studying Chinese
  + It's an excuse to live somewhere other than Victoria.
  - Long term future difficult to imagine.

• Studying Spanish
  + It's an excuse to live somewhere other than Victoria.
  - Long term future difficult to imagine.

• Studying French
  + It's an excuse to live somewhere other than Victoria.
  - Long term future difficult to imagine.

• Studying Religion (i.e., critique of religion)
  - Absolutely zero known options anywhere in the world.

• Studying Veganism (i.e., the politics of the vegan movement)
  - Absolutely zero known options anywhere in the world.
  NB: this was and still is my suggestion to Gail, if she's going to
talk to her contact at ________ or any other (English-speaking)
University, i.e., to ask under what department it would be possible to
make use of my expertise in the politics of the vegan movement (and
note that I already have a B.A. in politics, etc.).  There are many
examples of other vegan demagogues doing this, either for an M.A. or a
PhD or both.

• Studying Cinematography a.k.a. filmmaking a.k.a film school.
  - Absolutely zero known options anywhere in the world.
  - This does not mean "zero options", but zero that we know of.
  - Economically, the industry is currently in the process of contracting.
  - The other students would probably hate me.
  - Relatively meaningless in terms of "the meaning of life".
  + Very clearly useful in terms of one's ability to make a positive
difference in the world.
  - However, very high cost, for even the most humble of film
projects: stand up comedy is cheap by contrast, writing a novel is
cheap by contrast, etc. etc.

• Studying something related to stand up comedy.
  - We have found zero options related to talent management, being a
booking agent, etc., and there really should be many solid options
under this heading.
  - We have, also, found zero options related to venue management.
  - I am not aware of any options under the purely economic side of
the equation, but I think that would be a much worse preparation than
cinematography (already discussed above).
  - Although comedy is cheap in many ways (writing itself costs
nothing, doing stand up costs little compared to filmmaking, etc.) the
indirect costs of the exercise are considerable: the center of the
English-speaking universe for comedy is (now) New York, and spending
five days on Manhattan Island is extremely expensive (even if you do
not include the cost of airplane tickets).
  - The field still relies on entertainment lawyers (and contracts,
etc.), talent managers and venue managers that nobody can now afford:
the format of comedy has remained the same while the amount of money
to be paid has declined and declined.  Splitting off 10% of a contract
for this role and that one has become impossible.

Sunday 19 November 2023

Vegan Satan, Vegan Lucifer, Vegan Antichrist.

The people who hate Wayne paradoxically hate and fear his critics (i.e., me) even more: from their perspective, Wayne is a fallen angel, a disappointing exemplar of their beliefs, whereas I am actually their anthesis —their Satan.

Sunday 12 November 2023

[Now more than ever:] Greed & the Politics of Pandering: James Aspey, Brian Turner, Ice Poseidon.

Y'all let people like James Aspey lead the vegan movement, and now you ain't got no vegan movement no more.  Y'all let people like Matt Dillahunty lead the atheist movement, and now you ain't got no atheist movement no more.

As I said in Future of an Illusion“the scarf of a revolutionary wrapped around the neck of a bureaucrat".



And I would just like to say, again: I DO NOT WANT TO BE "AHEAD OF MY TIME"!!!



Friday 10 November 2023

Millions of Dollars Per Annum: DxE, Wayne Hsiung, and his Mysterious Sister, Amy Hsiung.


Though Hsiung officially stepped down as the head of DxE in 2019, he still has ties to the organization and its finances through Friends of DxE, a 501(c)(3) organization and DxE’s fundraising arm. Hsiung’s sister, Amy Hsiung, is listed as the organization’s president, [emphasis added] but neither she nor the other members of the organization have been visually active participants in the animal rights movement space. 

In a written response, Hsiung said his sister is “a highly competent professional who cares about animals and has contributed hundreds of hours of volunteer time to various organizations, without asking for any compensation.”


DxE’s internal issues spilled over into its pay structures and other financial issues. In 2020, the organization brought in more than $1.3 million in revenue through its fundraising arm, Friends of DxE. The same year, according to tax documents, DxE spent only $12,000 on salaries and wages. In 2018 and 2019, it listed paying no salaries or wages. Zeigler says she was paid through a system that allocated her a quarterly fellowship stipend based on the work she had contributed that totaled about $30,000 a year—a poverty-level wage for the San Francisco Bay Area. Zeigler said she did not have to pay taxes because fellows were not given an official income. But it was close to impossible to get health care or qualify for food stamps, which they needed but couldn’t receive without proof of income.



You never REALLY know someone until you've been co-defendants in a criminal trial together…

Rachel Cziegler (who for many years preferred to spell her name as Rachel Ziegler, I note) is now a dissenting voice in the midst of a very difficult to summarize controversy indirectly linked to the criminal conviction of Wayne Hsiung —and much more directly linked to her decision to denounce DxE as "a cult" in retrospect.

Cassie King, shown in the final photo (not the first one) is not to be confused with Rachel Cziegler… although the two were close friends and colleagues until quite recently… and they're both entangled in the current Wayne Hsiung controversy in very different ways.

And now, the sex scandal: Wayne Hsiung is in jail AND ALL OF A SUDDEN…

This is being "marketed" as a sex scandal, but note that there are financial and political aspects to the critique, some of which sound suspiciously similar to things I've said on my youtube channel many years ago (e.g., pointing out the financial role of Wayne's sister, holding the keys to the bank account, etc.).

By March 2022, K.S., who was about 15 years younger than Hsiung, agreed to meet with and help Hsiung record a podcast in Southern California. K.S. said Hsiung suggested the two get dinner the night before under the pretense of showing her how the mics worked before their morning taping. During the meal, K.S. said Hsiung asked her intimate and personal questions, including if she wanted to have children. 

K.S. said Hsiung walked her to her car and “launched into a profession of feelings” for the activist, admitting he had felt this way for a long time and that her disinterest in having kids concerned him. 


In September 2022, K.S. filed a report of the incident. The reports team—a small group of unpaid volunteers with no official human resources experience—responded by saying that Hsiung would sign an agreement committing to not pursuing or professing his love for members who reasonably believe they are in a mentor-mentee relationship with Hsiung. However, the reports team would not provide K.S. with a signed copy of the document.

SOURCE: https://prismreports.org/2023/11/09/direct-action-everywhere-dxe-misconduct-retaliation/

Wayne Hsiung: Money, Fame, Power, Respect, Sex.

[The text that follows below was written by Wayne Hsiung and was originally titled "2023.06.16 Statement from Wayne".]

TL;DR: There have been a number of rumors spreading through the animal rights community in the last few weeks, in a fashion that has drastically affected the work that I and others at The Simple Heart and Direct Action Everywhere are doing for animals.

Most notably, a group of activists were involved in reporting a recent mass action at the Animal Liberation Conference to the police, after discovering where a staging ground was occurring, in an effort to stop an open rescue from happening. They explained their actions by saying they believed I was attempting to rescue animals with women who I would subsequently prey on sexually in criminal cases. There was a statement that “Wayne poofed from the Earth” after the police were called, based on a belief that the action had been stopped and that I had been arrested (or worse). 

Those rumors are disconnected from reality and are now causing danger not just to me, but other activists. In fact, I had no involvement in or knowledge of the mass open rescue at the Animal Liberation Conference this year and have had no involvement in organizing such actions since I stepped down from leadership of DxE in 2019. Moreover, as I describe below, my sexual history is limited – including 5 sexual relationships in the last decade. And none of those relationships had anything to do with criminal cases. 

The rumors nonetheless have gained traction. The call to the police last week was only the most recent example. A woman within DxE publicly called me out for sexual harassment, alleging at a talk by Peter Singer in late May that I had sexually harassed many women, and specifically mentioning “a few women that you have had sexual relationships with are currently in federal prosecution cases with you.” (The women in those cases deny that they were harassed or otherwise victims of any form of sexual harassment or misconduct.) I am therefore drafting the below statement accounting for my full sexual and relationship history, to the best of my recollection, since Direct Action Everywhere’s (DxE) founding in 2013, in order to provide full transparency. (DxE is the organization that I am most associated with, though, as mentioned, I have had no involvement in operational decisions in the org since 2019 and have moved most of my work to The Simple Heart.) 

I will also go live at _ pm PT on Facebook to answer any questions others might have about the details within. I apologize both to the individuals named (even anonymously) and to any others offended by the details of this post. I have reached out to all individuals to ensure accuracy and minimize any intrusion on privacy. However, I believe that rumor and gossip can only be healed by transparency, and when people are making calls to the police based on false rumors, transparency is long overdue. I hope this post will allow us that healing. 


I have written previously about my sexual history, given that it has been the source of public controversy. However, given that there have recently been more rumors of various forms of harassment and misconduct – including by the group that called the police on activists, and during a public call-out at an event with Peter Singer – stakeholders of the work I do justifiably may be interested in greater transparency. I am trying to write the below from a purely factual perspective, without adding any judgment. 

However, let me preface those more objective remarks by saying that, while it has been a dream of mine to start a family from the time I was a teenager, I am very far from that dream and have spent the vast majority of my life focused entirely on animal rights. The sense of loss I feel, from not having been able to pursue that dream, has been one of the most painful parts of my life, as I have not only missed out on many things I wanted to personally achieve, but sacrificed the emotional foundation that relationships and family can bring. This has been particularly difficult in recent years, as I’ve suffered great personal loss, with multiple family members dying in a time where we have all been isolated from anyone but our spouses and family by COVID-19. I say this only to explain my motivations in dating. I’ve had limited time for anything other than my life’s main focus, animal rights, and I have begun to realize that has compromised me significantly, even as an activist. It is hard to continue standing for animal rights when one feels so weak and broken in one’s personal life. Recent events have been another painful demonstration of that. 


I have had sex with 5 women over the last ~11 years, since DxE was founded in Jan 2013.

[Footnote:]  My history as an animal rights leader is most relevant. But to the extent that people are concerned that I might be hiding a sordid sexual history prior to DxE, I have had 4 other sexual relationships in my life prior to 2013. 

I am on good terms with 4 of these women, and very bad terms with one. Because age differences have been a source of controversy, I give ages of the women at issue. Of those 5 women, 2 women were in their 20s, 2 were in their 30s, 1 was 39 at the start of the relationship and 40 when it ended. Three were volunteer DxE organizers, and two were not. The relationships lasted anywhere from ~1 month to one year. The only woman who has asked to be named publicly is Priya Sawhney. Each of these relationships has been characterized as predatory and/or sexual harassment, typically against the stated views of the women themselves. I describe each, including any stated concerns, in light of these rumors. 

The first relationship was with Priya Sawhney in 2013, who was in her 20s at the time (while I was 32) and a fellow core organizer and co-founder of DxE. In 2013, DxE had no funding, following, or organizational structure; we were simply a band of vegans who wanted to do something for the animals. The relationship formally ended in 2014 (though we maintained a commitment we called an “exclusive non-relationship” for a few years after), and we remain on great terms. Her story has been used to allege that I harassed or abused her, most recently in a question at a talk with Peter Singer, apparently to imply that I coerced her into risky activism via a sexual relationship. (The reality is that Priya and I ended up in a criminal case together 4 years after our relationship ended.) She has objected to this usage of her story and indicated that she believes they are part of a smear campaign. 

The second relationship was someone I dated in 2019, when I was 37 and she was in her early 20s. She was a fellow member of the 5-person elected Core leadership team at the time, which has executive authority over all DxE matters, as well as a co-defendant in a case dating back to May 2018. By this point, DxE had organizational structure and significant funding. Before dating her, I notified the Core leadership team and the relationship ombudsperson, and we held a public, multi-hour chapter wide meeting to discuss (among other issues) whether dating between two members of leadership was appropriate, whether we should have a new relationship policy, and whether there were any concerns over a relationship where there was a significant age difference. We also provided avenues for anonymous feedback. I promised that I would not move forward if there was meaningful dissent in the chapter. There was no significant dissent at the chapter meeting, and the only anonymous disagreement we received focused on the fact that I had too much power (without referencing the specific relationship). We therefore began dating in April 2019, with a nepotism policy and agreement in place, and I indicated privately to our leadership team a couple months later that I was planning to step down from all leadership roles partly because of the relationship. 

My resignation was announced publicly in early August 2019, and I formally left leadership on September 1. For most of our relationship, accordingly, my partner was in a formal position of authority over me within DxE, though I retained substantial informal power in that community due to my status as a co-founder of the organization. There were, however, several occasions during our relationship when her formal leadership proved more influential than my informal power, such as when she successfully advocated (with support from other core organizers at the time) for prohibiting me from hiring support staff in legal cases where I was a defendant. She had good faith reasons for doing so — she felt that the decision should be made by elected leadership and not by the defendants – but, right or wrong, it was a demonstration of the power dynamic that existed between us. We broke up in March 2020 and are on professional terms. She maintains that she does not view our relationship as predatory or improper.

The third person, who was in her 30s, was someone I hung out with initially on a friendly basis in 2020. We connected by Zoom after the pandemic began, where she kindly provided me support when I was struggling due to COVID-induced isolation. While she was a dedicated animal rights activist, she was not regularly involved in DxE, and lived a significant distance from the Bay Area. We had sex one time in the summer of 2020, after lockdowns were lifted and she came to Berkeley for a visit. We did not end up in a relationship for a variety of reasons, including time and distance. We are on good terms, and this woman has indicated that she is willing to (privately) relay her experiences with me to anyone with concerns. 

The fourth person, who was approximately the same age as me and is a dedicated and accomplished animal rights activist, is someone I began dating in the Fall of 2020. She was involved in DxE, but not on any teams that I was involved in. Our relationship ended in August 2021. We were on good terms after the break up and continued to hang out (as friends) regularly. Our relationship became adversarial when I informed her about boundaries I would have to set, about 9 months after our relationship ended. She stated that she was concerned I was flattering people who were younger than me in order to secure sexual relationships and therefore abusing my power. She has reached out to all the people I’ve been in a relationship with over the last decade, and many people whom I have not, to express those concerns and has spread false rumors about me in that process.

The fifth person, who was in her 30s, was the woman on the East Coast referenced above. She is a dedicated and accomplished animal advocate who has since moved to California but has no involvement in DxE. We explored a relationship by communicating online, and began a brief sexual relationship when I visited the East Coast in July 2022. At the end of the trip, we mutually decided a relationship was not a good fit. We remain on good terms.

There have been rumors and concerns that, even aside from these sexual relationships, I am asking women on too many dates. In addition to these five women, I have asked out on dates a handful of other women over the last 11 years within the animal rights movement. The total number is around 1 date request every year, by my estimate (and including the 5 women above), which has led to an estimated 4 other dates with animal rights advocates from 2012 - 2023 beyond the relationships above. (I have also gone on around 4 dates with non-animal rights advocates in that time period, via online dating, and had intimate contact, though not sex, with one.)

Two of those dates are of particular note, however, given that they have led to controversy. In March 2022, I asked a former legal volunteer in LA to have dinner with me. I did not know her age at the time, but I understand her age now to be __ The woman at issue had not been on a team that I led, but I clearly had the most power on the team, due to my experience in the law. She had also volunteered for my mayoral campaign in 2020. We had stayed in touch over the years, and she contacted me after my dog Lisa died in October 2021 to express condolences, and again in early 2022 to indicate that her boyfriend had broken up with her. I wrongly perceived this to be an indication of interest in me, and asked her out on what I perceived to be a date. I indicated after dinner that I liked her and would like to spend more time with her, but also that we might not be a good fit because she was uncertain if she wanted to have kids. She smiled, seemed excited,  but asked me why I would not want to date her, given that she had so few accomplishments. I told her that I did not think that was true, and wrote to her later that night explaining many things I loved about her. I texted two friends that night to indicate that I thought the date had gone well. The next morning she wrote back to me and indicated that she’d prefer to have an exclusively platonic relationship. I replied that I understood and accepted her decision, and said I was sorry if I had said or done anything awkward. She replied that I had not done anything offensive at all and that I should not worry. About 1-2 days later, she wrote to me that she felt shocked and preyed upon by the romantic attention, given that she had recently gone through a breakup and perceived me as a mentor-figure, among other factors. (I was not the team lead or formal mentor on the team she volunteered for, nine months prior, but held significant influence on the team due to my legal experience.) I apologized for that impact. She filed a report to the DxE report team, who subsequently contacted me and asked me if I could reach certain agreements with her. (See the footnote below.) I replied to the report team I did not think the agreements were relevant, given that some of them were based on factual events that did not happen (e.g., hitting on someone in a car), but that I would happily agree. After the report, I believed that we were on good terms, and when she indicated she was interested in getting involved in volunteer DxE legal work in the summer of 2022, I indicated that I would be grateful for her support.  and put her in touch with the relevant point person. My understanding is that she continues to have concerns about power dynamics in relationships/dating, including possible concern about my asking out another legal team volunteer approximately one year after I asked her out.  

The second date occurred in late March 2023. I asked out on a date a woman who had been particularly supportive of me when my cat Joan died in February. I was not the leader of the legal team she was volunteering for, and had not worked with her on any significant projects when we began chatting. I did, however, have significant influence on the team, due to my legal experience and reputation. I indicated to her when we went on a date that, if we ended up in a relationship, I felt that I should probably leave the team. We decided ultimately not to continue with a relationship, after the date, and remain on good terms. While many have stated that I sexually harassed her, or otherwise violated the DxE dating and relationship policy, she has denied this and has asked others to stop falsely using her story.

[Footnote:]  There have separately been claims that I (a) violated the DxE relationship policy by asking her out on a date; or (b) violated other agreements I had made with DxE’s Report Team, including an agreement to “refrain from professing love or making romantic declarations to any DxE community members who you are in a mentor/mentee relationship [with].”

With respect to (a) the relationship policy expressly allows for team members to ask one another on a date, and only requires reporting if the date turns into a relationship. I did not hide the fact that I went on a date, and in fact consulted with a number of individuals, including a lawyer who was involved in the drafting of the relationship policy, who stated that I did not have to report it. Nonetheless, I did report the date to the ombudsperson in early June, about 2 months after the date. The ombudsperson agreed that it did not need to be reported. 

With respect to (b), I was not in a mentor relationship with the woman and I did not “profess my love” for her. I was not the point person on the team — and had virtually no discussions with her about her volunteer work. Moreover, the woman was a former television broadcast journalist (who I have sought advice from on media issues), and a powerful person in her own right. I have confirmed that neither of us would characterize our relationship as “mentor/mentee.” 

Unfortunately, this has not prevented her story from being used, including in a false sexual harassment report filed on her behalf, and against her will, in the last couple weeks. While neither I nor this woman believe the report has any validity, I voluntarily left all DxE legal teams after the report was filed, and I am scaling back all of my work with legal volunteers. By the end of the year, the intent is for all of my legal work to occur with professional attorneys or staff at The Simple Heart. 

There have been other rumors involving harassing behavior outside of dates. One rumor involves harassment of an unnamed woman at a dance party or club. I do not know who this woman is. However, those who have seen me dance know that I generally avoid dancing with women at parties, to avoid allegations of impropriety. I dance to relieve stress, in times that are hard, and typically dance with other men rather than women. I do not drink, do drugs, or engage in other risky personal behavior. (I have been sober my entire life.) But the allegation against me is apparently that I “gave advice” to a woman at a dance party with the intent to pursue a sexual relationship. I do not recall giving advice to anyone or even desiring a sexual relationship with a fellow activist, much less attempting to pursue one, at any dance party or club. I apologize if I gave anyone that impression.

All of the above factual statements can be verified. Subject to appropriate confidentiality and consent, I am happy to share all communications I’ve had with the above women — and any other women — with any party that has a legitimate interest in investigating the claims further, including the DxE Report Team. Priya Sawhney has also indicated that she is willing to speak to anyone about the allegations, given that she is one of the alleged victims of my harassment, and is also familiar with the facts in other cases. 

A final thought: I do not enjoy writing the above statement, and I think the necessity of writing it is a sign of a culture that has gone deeply wrong. Rumor, vengefulness, and cruelty dominate the animal rights community – and the nation at large – and cause toxic infighting that harms all parties and distracts us from our mission. I have had serious thoughts about leaving the animal rights movement, as a result of these rumors, and I imagine others on all sides of these rumors have felt similarly. However, the only antidote to that darkness is light. Light, of course, is often painful. It exposes the ugly warts on society, and on us. I am confident that many of the warts above are unpleasant for people to read. They were unpleasant for me to write. But I think the light is still necessary for wounds to be healed. 

I will go live at __ pm PT today on Facebook to answer any questions about the above.

Thank you for reading all the way to the end, and for your support for making the world a kinder place.

Calibrating the claim that nobody cares: Wayne Hsiung is in jail.

 Look at the numbers.

This is an organization that has tried to "milk" (verb) the martyrdom of Wayne Hsiung for years, but just look at the numbers: nobody cares.  In a livestream today, I narrated at some length my surprise that I could not find any youtube videos addressed to the controversy at all (from any side) searching for the tag "vegan" within the last seven days, not even after paging through many hundreds of search results.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

On the very definition of "labor saving devices."

At long last, Wayne Hsiung goes to jail.

The "peaceful protest" in question took place in 2018: it really would have been a positive influence on the vegan movement if the laws had been enforced more swiftly.