This black vegetarian is so tired of PETA ads

The 2020 Super Bowl ad from PETA that deserved a block from Fox Sports and the NFL

Shamontiel L. Vaughn
Feb 5 · 3 min read
Photo credit: Create Her Stock

I’m a tree-hugging, Earth Hour honoring, recycle bin condo association watching, 15-year vegetarian. Minus California maki rolls and the occasional Filet o’ Fish (my only two weaknesses), I haven’t eaten anything that had parents since 2005. But still, animal rights organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) make it so hard to defend them.

As much as I want to put on my cape and step to the front of the line, sticking up for all the good things they do (like help me find cruelty-free perfume), they love to remind me they don’t have enough African-American people on their staff. I used to know one black PETA employee, but she was terminated for not showing up to a meeting. I don’t know how important the meeting was, but I damn sure think black folks at PETA should never get vacation days when this company comes up with a new marketing idea.

Here’s why I believe that black people should be required to work during all of PETA’s marketing meetings. If they’re not there, then nonsense like this reaches the public eye.

I have discussed cultural appropriation at length when it comes to marketing ideas. I have talked about why it is important to represent a product honestly, understanding exactly who initiated those “new” product ideas.

But this PETA ad is about the laziest way to pay homage to former quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Not only does it miss every possible amount of footage related to racial profiling and police brutality that it could have used. It somehow decides to #AllLivesMatter the situation by ending the commercial with an #EndingSpeciesism hashtag.

PETA, as someone who has no desire to eat dead animals, I fully understand why it’s important to bring awareness to slaughterhouses, animal torture, the risk of animal extinction, lab testing and all the other horrible treatment that animals get. But this was not your moment. This commercial with fish, bears, horses, squirrels, sheep, foxes, eagles, little white girls and rabbits kneeling doesn’t have one shred of evidence that could’ve added so much more to the purpose in which Kaepernick was kneeling. Kaepernick didn’t just go on the field and kneel, then call it a day. He started a “Know Your Rights” campaign and donated $1 million dollars to 37 different organizations fighting for justice (i.e. Assata’s Daughters, Standing Rock, United We Dream).

If you just really feel the need to have a make-it-about-me moment, at least meet the man (and the #BlackLivesMatter cause) in the middle. Hell, Nike figured out how to do it, and his “True to 7” shoes sold out in one day! It’s not that hard to figure out a happy medium.

PETA, if you want to pay homage to a cause, sometimes it’s OK to do it without the commercial revolving around you. I still don’t understand why you thought that elephant commercial with Robbyne Kaamil comparing animal cruelty to slavery was a good idea. I’m still scowling at how much you’re taking credit for the absurdity from Jim Motavalli comparing “eating animal flesh” to slavery. That’s your idea of bragging rights? Why has your conscience let you live with that level of lunacy? You are were all right with the “Ink, Not Mink” ads, but here you go again, doing something else offensive and out of touch.

If you can’t figure out a way to show how much you respect a cause independent of your own, then just stick to an animal cruelty commercial and leave it be. There’s nothing wrong with kneeling on the sidelines — and learning the art of being quiet.

Would you like to receive Shamontiel’s Weekly Newsletter via MailChimp? Sign up today!

I Do See Color

“Seeing” color is no more a problem than “seeing” height. Disrespect and discrimination is the issue.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

15-year vegetarian journalist/editor; Wag! dog walker; Rover dog sitter; Toastmasters member and 4x officer; WERQ dance enthusiast; Visit

I Do See Color

“Seeing” color is no more a problem than “seeing” height. Disrespect and discrimination is the issue.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade