In a celebrity-obsessed culture like ours, celebrities are de facto leaders and ambassadors to the movement. This is often celebrated by vegans and it does indeed raise our profile and garner new support. Yet it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is a mistake.
Celebrities do not usually take veganism seriously as an ethical commitment. Commitment to veganism has roughly the same track record as commitment to marriage among celebrities.
And this is not intended to belittle celebrities. They lead uniquely insane lives. Their every move is in the public eye, many of them have mental health or substance abuse issues, the public is by turns adoring and abusive, and their careers require extraordinary sacrifices. I’m not surprised that veganism is more fad than serious ethical commitment for them.
In these specific cases, Mike Tyson grew up in terrible poverty without a father in a high crime neighborhood. His boxing coach became a father figure, raising him with a single-minded focus on being an absolute killer in a boxing ring. He was heavyweight champion at twenty.
Miley Cyrus revealed that she had a traumatic head injury at the age of two. Her father was riding a quad through the woods with her on his back and a branch struck her. She began starring in Hannah Montana at age thirteen.
Early exposure to fame was detrimental to their personal lives. Both have had substance use issues in the past.
Are these the people we want to lead our movement? Dr. Garth Davis wondered aloud why this story even matters. Were you vegan in first place because Miley Cyrus was? Does she really have a serious argument that makes you question the health of the diet?
No. Neither Miley Cyrus nor Mike Tyson gave compelling reasons for their dietary change. If Miley Cyrus was really worried about her brain function due to lack of omega-3, she could take an algae based supplement, as is widely recommended to vegans. If Mike Tyson were worried about recovery and fitness on a vegan diet he could have consulted the wisdom and experience of . If Game Changers did anything at all it demonstrated that top athletes can thrive on a vegan diet. Frankly, Tyson makes it sounds like he was never vegan in the first place. He claimed that kale is toxic to his body. When Joe Rogan asked him what he ate on a vegan diet, he exclaimed “nothing!” with a childish grin.
Do not be disappointed. Lower your expectations. Celebrities can hype a fad, but they cannot lead a movement.