The husband-and-wife owners of famous vegan restaurant group Cafe Gratitude are under fire after a group of animal rights activists discovered last week that the couple was raising, slaughtering, and eating animals at their Northern California farm, named Be Love.
Matthew and Terces Engelhart said that they have received death threats since a 14-month-old blog post from their Be Love Farm website was rediscovered and widely circulated by animal rights activists, the Guardian reports. The blog post in question announced their decision to start eating meat and meat products after nearly 40 years of a vegetarian and vegan (which they adopted in 2003) lifestyle, alongside photos of beef broth and a freezer full of beef that they harvested from their own dairy cows.
Besides the death threats, the backlash surrounding the Engelharts includes a boycott Facebook page, a protest at their Larchmont, CA location, and a barrage of one-star reviews on Yelp.
Matthew Engelhart told The Hollywood Reporter that he was disappointed with the violent responses.
“People have taken up the mob mentality,” Engelhart said. “It saddens me that the choices we made in the privacy of our home would lead people to feel so betrayed that it’s elevated to threats on our lives. I’m very discouraged.”
The couple opened the first Cafe Gratitude restaurant in San Francisco in 2004, then expanded into Southern California. The vegan eateries soon became a celeb destination, counting Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyoncé Knowles among their devotees.