Cafe Society

PETA member a no-show for Westword protest

Upset by our video of the live octopus hot pot, PETA member Belinda Heinikey-Williamson threatened to protest at the Westword offices today at 11 a.m.

That hour has come and gone, though, with not a single protester in sight.

What happened? Was the circus back in town?

Turns out, while the protester name-checked PETA, the organization wasn't officially behind the threatened action. Unofficially, it didn't like the video, either.

Ashley Gonzalez, media specialist at PETA, had this to say:

Contrary to her claim that she neither condemned nor condoned eating a live octopus, Laura Shunk raved about the experience in her original article. Studies have shown that octopi are capable of complex thought processes, can use tools, have short- and long-term memories, and are particularly sensitive to pain. However, you don't have to be a marine biologist to understand that the octopus in the video suffered immensely before Shunk ate him. This is the first that PETA has heard about this protest, but we can understand why compassionate people are upset.

Even if those people put the hot-pot protest on the back burner.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk