Friday, September 10


The case was so cut-and-dried: Crazy vegan dad kidnaps his own son from his mother-in-law and hides out in woods, spouting kooky crap to the police. And that's how the New York Daily News reported it. When I read the first reports, even I thought "Oh great, another crazy vegan parent, who will be used to represent all of us." But when a second-day story "quoted" the father as saying he'd kill the child if cops closed in, I thought, wait a second. That doesn't sound very vegan. Granted, the quote was sourced in the article to the mother-in-law, but the paper then printed it as a subhed without attribution, as though it were "fact" (or the closest thing - a quote disseminated by police). The next day, when the mother-in-law agreed to feed the baby a vegan diet, the paper called it "another bizarre twist" that the father was denying the quote: "Raphael Spindell, father of 14-month-old Andrey, called Brooklyn cops yesterday and denied threatening to kill his son and himself if the police closed in. 'I never threatened to kill my kid. I love my kid,' Spindell told a cop, according to a high-ranking police official. Additionally, Spindell denied that he spent the four days "hiding in the woods," as the mother-in-law had told police. "He said he, wife Alexandra Spindell and their son stayed at a friend's house while negotiating the handover." Plus he said he snatched the boy from the Coney Island home of his mother-in-law after finding cleaning products within the toddler's reach, and a case of milk-based infant formula. Now, there were apparently some credible malnutrition issues in this case to start with, but it's worth noting that in a custody battle the press blithely reported as fact the claims of one side against the other, in a way that I'd expect would not have happened if that other hadn't been vegan.

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