A celebrity chef is suing a vegan activist for six figures, claiming she trashed his business online and harassed his diners during angry protests.
Former British chef John Mountain, owner of Fyre restaurant in Perth, is suing celebrity protester Tash Peterson for defamation, escalating their months-long feud.
Countless social media posts combined with in-person protests inside his restaurant left Mr. Mountain with no other option, he told A Current Affair.
“I constantly receive daily death threats and terrible emails, and it’s just too much,” Mr. Mountain said.
Mr Mountain lived in Australia for seven years after arriving from Britain where he was a celebrity chef who shared an agent with culinary superstar Jamie Oliver. He also starred in the kitchen shows the Great British Menu and Chef Race UK versus US.
A bitter feud broke out between Mr Mountain and the controversial activist and OnlyFans star after the chef banned all vegans from his restaurant after one gave him a negative review over the lack of variety of its restaurant.
Perth chef John Mountain sues vegan activist Tash Peterson for defamation
Peterson criticized Mr. Mountain online and in person after a feud broke out between the two when the chef banned all vegan dining at his restaurant.
Since the ban, Mr. Mountain has obtained two restraining orders that have stopped Peterson from mentioning his name, company or anyone associated with him online, but he says that has not stopped his online followers.
“It’s not directly from her that I have problems. This comes from the hundreds of thousands of people who view his posts,” Mr. Mountain told the ACA.
To prove his point, the celebrity chef launched a new Instagram account ‘onlyfyrefans‘ to highlight the abuse he suffers daily.
Mr. Mountain doesn’t blur out the names of people who send him messages or the language they use, and posting them helps him cope, he says.
“Hate you and your disgusting behavior,” one person said.
“Attacking a young girl and physically touching her is disgusting. Posing with dead animals, disgusting. Karma will get you,” another said in a post.
“Maybe we should massacre you on the spot,” threatened a third.
Peterson herself can no longer participate in the assault after complying with reconversion orders.
Her actions have resulted in her being banned from all licensed venues in Western Australia for the next year, but Mr Mountain doesn’t think the ban is “harsh” enough.
“It’s not fair that the punishment never matched the crime,” he said.
“She got away with little crimes, little slaps on the wrist, a few hundred dollars here, five hundred dollars there, she doesn’t care. So I decided to sue her for total defamation (because) it caused me a lot of distress,” he added on ACA.
Police charged Peterson with trespassing, remaining near licensed premises and disorderly behavior in a public place after he clashed with the chef for a second time outside his Perth restaurant, Fyre, on July 8.
During the protest, chaos erupted inside and outside the restaurant.
As customers dined inside, activists invaded the room, broadcasting pig squeals through a megaphone.
In a video posted to Instagram, Ms. Peterson enters the restaurant shouting that “the sounds you hear now are pigs screaming for their lives in carbon dioxide champers, they are burning from the inside out.”
“You are responsible for their murder if you are not vegan and their blood is on your hands,” she said.
Ms. Peterson and Mr. Mountain clashed during the confrontation.
After the confrontation, the restaurant announced Thursday evening that Ms. Peterson and her boyfriend were now legally barred from entering the premises.
Mr. Mountain and Peterson have been caught in an ongoing dispute after his representative banned vegans.
Since the controversy erupted, Mr. Mountain says employees have left him because it was too much to handle.
The controversy began after a vegan restaurant left a one-star review discussing his “flaws as a chef” which Mr Mountain took personally, leading him to ban anyone identifying as vegan via Facebook.
“Unfortunately all vegans are now banned from Fyre for mental health reasons. Thank you for your understanding. xx,” he wrote in June.
Since Peterson became involved, Mr Mountain said she was “obsessed” with him and just wanted attention.
When asked by the ACA if the celebrity chef was just giving the protester what she wanted, Mr. Mountain said he was just trying to teach her a lesson.
“If she’s fined a significant amount, and I’m looking at six figures, if she’s fined that high an amount, she’ll think twice about it,” he said.
Peterson now faces court following his July 8 protests and Mr Mountain vows to open steak-only restaurants, telling ACA he is considering establishments on Australia’s east coast .