Police Treating Lewd Note, Vandalism, Left at Vegan Cafe as a Hate Crime

A police officer walks past public telephone boxes daubed with the words "vegan" and "rebel" and the symbol of the Extinction Rebellion environmental protest group in London on April 22, 2019, on the eighth day of the group's protest calling for political change to combat climate change. - Climate change …
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A lewd note with a drawing of male genitalia with the words “F*** you vegan bellends” left at a vegan restaurant and other similar acts are being treated as a hate crime by police.

It is believed that male students at one of Nottingham’s two universities may have scrawled the penis and caption on the back of a ‘track and trace’ form — used to collect data of customers in case of a coronavirus outbreak — at the Crocus Cafe in Lenton last month.

The establishment’s manager told NottinghamshireLive on Tuesday: “That was when it wasn’t a legal requirement to do it, people were just encouraged to do it [give track and trace details]. We picked up the form when they had left and noticed that they had drawn a [phallic shape] instead of writing their details on.

“The person who found it gasped when she found it — and she was really upset.

“I took a picture of it and just kind of left it and then I told my other colleagues and then that was pretty much it.”

The suspected vandals then returned a week later to inquire about bacon sandwiches, before one person allegedly left another “similar” sketch.

The manager also said that their chalk ‘A’ board sign had been stolen and altered to read “animal unfriendly” and “we hate animals”, with a penis being drawn on the illustration of the dog. The sign later was later retrieved from a residential garden.

The first incident took place weeks ago, with the vandalism and theft of the sign taking place last week.

Staff now say they feel “threatened”, and Nottinghamshire Police are investigating it as a potential “hate crime”.

Sergeant Andrew Hallsworth of the force told the news publication: “Nottinghamshire Police takes hate crime and incidents very seriously and will always look to take appropriate and proportionate action against those found to commit such offences.

“Enquiries were made to establish the circumstances of these incidents. In this case, all parties involved were spoken to by an officer, and a support programme has been put in place for the victim.”

“A hate crime is any incident where someone is targeted because of their identity. Hate crime can take any shape and isn’t always illegal behaviour, but it is always motivated by prejudice against protected characteristics such as race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, transgender, misogyny, and alternative sub-culture,” a spokesman from the force added.

With veganism on the rise, so too are demands that it be given the legal status of a protected characteristic, such as sexuality, age, gender, or religion, treating anti-veganism like racism and protecting vegans from discrimination in the workplace.

During an employment tribunal, where a vegan claimed his employer had fired him because of his dietary beliefs, the judge ruled that “ethical veganism” was a philosophical belief that should be protected in law from discrimination.

“I am satisfied overwhelmingly that ethical veganism does constitute a philosophical belief,” Judge Robin Postle had said in January. The claimant’s lawyer claimed that the judge’s declaration would have a “potentially significant” impact, such as that any perceived hateful comments against vegans “might be seen to be harassment in the same way a racist or sexist slur might be discriminatory action”. The claimant won his case in March.

Just weeks after the judge’s declaration, Britain’s Vegan Society published guidance for employers which referenced the Equality Act and told bosses they had to protect their vegan staff from jokes about their dietary choices. The Vegan Society said that even if any anti-vegan remarks are not made directly at vegans and even just in their vicinity, it still constituted “unlawful harassment”.

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