Mizzou Hunger Striker Once Admitted Stealing Food

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Jonathan Butler, the University of Missouri graduate student who made national headlines with his week-long hunger strike last year bragged on a 2011 blog post that he stole food from a local hotel for two months.

Butler’s hunger strike last fall helped lead to the ouster of the University of Missouri’s president and chancellor after the black members of the school’s football threatened to not play in solidarity with Butler. Butler got accolades from the likes of the Nation of Islam’s Rev. Louis Farrakhan and, since his media-grabbing incident, has spoken at the law schools of Harvard and Duke.

Butler is a Black Lives Matter radical who was inspired by socialist heroes like Franz Fanon. As an article in The Missourian from last year said:

The more Butler read, the more radical he became. For him, that meant making people aware of institutional systems that dole out power to a lucky few while taking it away from others.

“The Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” a book by Paulo Freire, made Butler rethink these systems and reach for freedom — “freedom of mind, physical freedom, freedom from systems,” he said.

Butler is also a big believer in theft.

In a now-deleted blog post called My Summer Breakfast Experience, Butler bragged about his food theft exploits. The 2011 post was saved on the Wayback Machine.

Butler wrote:

As a person I am naturally inquisitive and as a person just barely making it this summer I wanted to see how much free stuff I could obtain. More specifically how much free food because this summer that has been my most important need besides basic shelter.

Jonathan Butler’s father is Eric Butler, an Executive Vice President with Union Pacific Railroad whose compensation for 2014 was reported as $8.4 million. Recent insider transactions by the elder Butler are also in the millions.

With that in mind, let’s listen to Jonathan Butler tell his tale:

Anyways (sic) there is a place near my place of employment that offers “free” continental breakfast so I decided to indulge myself with their “free” breakfast items right before going to my place of employment. I began doing this for the next 61 days. I would walk in the establishment where I could receive “free” continental breakfast go to the restroom, eat, drink tea, and leave.

In an odd nod toward a moral code, he never took food to-go. Butler continues:

This was my daily routine for 61 days and I never had more than one plate of food and one cup of tea. Never did I steal bagels, cereal, fruit, sausage patties, waffles, milk, coffee, or anything else and take it to my place of employment. I simply walked in the establishment used the restroom facilities, ate one plate of food, and drank one cup of tea.

Although he feigns poverty in his blog post, Butler reveals the real motivation behind his two months of theft: it was fun. Butler says:

…it almost became pure sport to see what would happen next. Beyond even pure sport it was a adrenaline rush to find out when someone would approach me about partaking in this “free” breakfast. Each passing day built up more and more excitement and anticipation of the hunt. The mere fact that confrontation was just around the corner drove me wild with passion. With every bite of food I ate and ever time I would step in front of the cameras and make funny faces provoked me to continue my experiment.

Given his future as a social justice warrior, it’s actually fascinating to note that what Jonathan Butler craved most was confrontation. He literally fantasized about getting caught and pictured SWAT teams and dogs. One day, an employee named Maria noticed him:

A new employee I haven’t seen before and Maria went into the back and discussed my presence at the establishment. The discussion ended in a shout saying, “No, I don’t recognize him as a guest!” All the while I sat in wait for the impending “danger” but instead of bolting for the door I sat back in my chair and drank my cup of tea even slower knowing that the experiment had finally ended and it would be my last cup of tea at that establishment. After all these events had taken place and the guests of the establishment had finished pointing and staring at me. I slowly removed myself from my chair, threw away my plate of bagel toppers and tea, took up my bag, and headed for the door. Now ideally in my mind I wanted S.W.A.T. team members to drop from the sky, tear gas to be thrown while I has attacked by 5 different german shepherds, and beat like Rodney King.

Butler writes he is disappointed when instead of SWAT and dogs, two managers approach him. Butler lies to them and then mocks them in his blog post:

But in my disappointment I was only greeted at the front door by two managers. Realizing who they were I gently brushed past them and proceeded to my mode of transportation. And just as I was unlocking my mode of transportation and going about my day they began to walk towards me. I stopped unlocking my mode of transportation and waited for their choice words I knew that they would present to me.

The two managers spoke first saying, “You know you can’t park here unless you are a guest.” I said, “I understand that but your older guy who’s a manager here spoke to me before (which was true) and said if i knew someone or was a guest then it would be okay.” The lady manager said, “Well who do you know?” I exclaimed, “Maria.” (Which was also true because Ive spoken to her before) She replied saying, “Maria, who?” Not knowing Maria’s real last name the first thing that came to mind was to say, “Sanchez.” (Which in the back of my mind I knew couldn’t have been true) They lady manager shouted with a smile on her face, “That’s a lie! We don’t have anyone by that name here” I replied back saying, “No, not really she’s right inside working” as I raised my voice in disgust of her cockiness.

She said back to me, “So you think you can just get free breakfast and leave huh?” I said to her, “Yes! the older gentleman manager (who she later told me was the senior grounds keeper) approached me last time and said as long as I knew someone or was a guest it was okay. (Which was true)

Plus! he only approached me about my (mode of transportation) and not the food!” The lady manager grumbled under her breath while the male manager finally stepped up and said, “Well that’s not true he was gonna throw you out you’re just lucky he didn’t. Because we have been watching you for awhile.” I chuckled to myself but just loud enough to upset the two managers (on purpose) knowing that he was too frail to honestly throw anyone out. Also the fact still remains that if you had “been watching me for awhile” why didn’t you stop me, oh lets says 61 days ago?

The hunger-striker’s food theft isn’t his only controversy. As Fox News reported about videos made by the rich-kid radical, he seems has asked if all women are “trash” and has sung about crack :

At one point, Butler asks his guest: “So what he’s saying is that us as men, we don’t have issues, it’s all women, obviously, because what do we do? We just eat, sleep, work, we’re the backbone. Is that what you’re saying? … You’re saying all women are trash, is that what you’re saying?”

Another 9-minute video, posted to YouTube in July 2011, features Butler singing about cooking crack cocaine with his love interest.

Butler is available for speaking engagements and represented by celebrity talent booker All American Speakers.


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