An outspoken hill farmer was thrown off Tiktok for poking fun at vegans. In response to videos promoting the diet, Gareth Wyn Jones produced his own light-hearted clips highlighting his love of a fry-up.
Yesterday the Conwy producer discovered he had been blocked from the platform, depriving his 15,000 followers of his ruminations on livestock farming. Gareth, from Llanfairfechan, claimed he was the victim of a vegan backlash by “powerful” campaign groups.
Tiktok adjudged him guilty of “harassment and bullying” after he brandished a turnip in a video, explaining how vegetables were often fertilised by livestock manure. Within 24 hours the ban had been rescinded following an appeal.
The ban came 16 months after a similar clash in which he showed a video of a dead pheasant being prepared for lunch. On that occasion he also appealed successfully, having been found guilty of “violent and graphic content”.
After his latest run-in with TikTok, Gareth was unrepentant, having become accustomed to being targeted by what he called “militant vegans”. “This is the second time I’ve been blocked by them and I’m not that bothered,” he said.
“I’m still on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All I did was have a bit of fun. To be honest, I’ve actually been quite well behaved recently.”
Gareth, who has one of the biggest social media followings in British farming, landed himself in hot water when he got creative with a TikTok video of a vegan. Clutching a turnip, Gareth spliced in his own clip, saying, “I’ll tell you why I’m not a vegan and never will be – because I’m a farmer.”
News of his latest temporary TikTok ban caused dismay amongst his (mostly pro-farming) supporters. One quipped: “That’s the trouble with today’s youngsters, so easily offended!”
However there was also concern at the way online freedom of speech can be skewed by targeted campaigning. “So TikTok agrees to harassment of working people who feed the nation?” pondered one person.
Another agreed: “I complained to Facebook when a vegan stated that all farmers should be killed. Facebook replied stating they hadn’t done anything wrong.”
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Veganism is a rapidly growing dietary choice that expounds a “cruelty-free” lifestyle choice which is less harmful to the planet. But their position often irked livestock farmers, who have been less adept at addressing attacks on their profession.
Gareth, who has a long list of TV credits, said he “wasn’t going to lose sleep” over his latest TikTok ban. Soon after, as news emerged the ban had been lifted, he chuckled: “Winner winner, no vegan dinner.”
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Nevertheless, he worried free speech had become a product of algorithms and tub-thumping. “We have to question the impact on freedom of speech when pressure groups can get people banned from online platforms,” he said.
“People are free to make up their own mind about livestock farming. These groups will keep attacking us and all we can do is to continue what we have been doing for centuries, which is producing food for the nation. And perhaps have a little bit of fun as well.”
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