WILKES-BARRE — The Mother Nature Vegan Cuisine food truck is no more and its owner finds herself in the middle of a firestorm for insensitive comments about the people killed in the Las Vegas massacre.
Delinda Jensen, 60, has received death threats after posting this Facebook comment: “Yes I am jaded. Fifty nine meat eaters dead. How many animals will live because of this?”
She then made a comment under the post that said: “I don’t give a (expletive) about carnists anymore.”
Jensen, a former adjunct history professor at Marywood University, said Thursday she is living in fear since her post set off an intense backlash on social media earlier this week.
She is out of business and her bright green food truck is in a secret storage area.
“I (expletive) up,” Jensen said while sitting at her kitchen table with son and business partner, Kyle, 28. “Was it poorly written? Absolutely. Do I regret it? Yes. I am so sorry I wrote that.”
Many Facebook users shared Jensen’s post, which generated hundreds of hate-filled comments and threats and little defense of her stance.
Jensen emphatically insisted she was not happy about the death of 59 people.
“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 wanted to make the point that too many animals are tortured and killed every year — she estimated 2o billion-plus — and consumed by humans. Jensen, who 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, she said she has received hundreds of abusive comments, phone calls and even 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 home in Wilkes-Barre — with people shouting obscenities and threats. The Jensens said they had to call police several times because they feared for their safety.
‘Lynch mob forming’
Jensen deactivated her Facebook account, but not before her post was shared countless times, causing a nationwide controversy. Jensen said she was told that someone even contacted media outlets in Las Vegas to inform them of her post.
“It’s almost like a lynch mob is forming,” said Jensen. “It’s seems that it’s no longer about the Facebook post — now it’s about eating meat.”
Jensen is angry at herself for what she called “a moment of stupidity.” She felt her vegan business was doing good for people, giving them a healthy alternative. Jensen 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.
But now, “We’re done. We canceled all of our booked events. We had a really good product, too.”
If she could, she would contact the families of all the Las Vegas victims to personally apologize. Instead, as she deals with the loss of her business and a steady stream of harsh criticism, she’s afraid to leave her home.
“There’s just so much visceral hate out there,” she said.
In addition to clearing their Facebook accounts, Jensen and her son have deactivated all of their electronic devices.
Jensen said she asked Kyle’s friends to go out and 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.”
‘We are not bad people’
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 knows what it’s like to lose a loved one — her husband committed suicide.
In the past few days, she and her son have gotten a real sample of the inhumanity and hate in the world. She said people driving by her home 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 security cameras can record 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, who has a degree in culinary arts, is sure he will find another job.
“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 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.”