When Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) organizer Nicholas Shaw-Mcminn arrived at an upscale French restaurant in California to protest foie gras, he was not expecting to be attacked with a weapon by the restaurant manager. But you’d think he was, based on his thoughtful reaction that led to extensive media coverage exposing the atrocities of foie gras production.
Wayne Hsiung, a co-founder of DxE, commended Nick’s reaction: “Even as his face was being clubbed, Nick directly confronted the violence with camera in hand. He did not run. He did not strike back. He did not even curse. He calmly continued recording.”
When asked by a reporter why he didn’t press charges against his assailant, Nick shifted the story to the animals, asserting that the pain he felt is something the animals experience every day: “We want to keep the attention on the animals and not make it just about me. Violent people are causing horrible harm to animals, and someone needs to be there to bring awareness and to try to end this violence.”
Nick is no stranger to being assaulted during a protest. In 2014, several staff members of BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in San Bernadino, California, aggressively ejected him from the restaurant as he attempted – by himself – to speak out on behalf of the animals who were being eaten.
DxE’s Wayne Hsiung argues that the physical backlash experienced by Nick and many other activists serves to strengthen the animal rights movement: “The press coverage that results from these incidents has exposed hundreds of thousands of people to the plight of animals and has triggered activists around the world to ask us how they can participate in our non-violent, direct actions.”
After he was attacked in Palm Springs, Nick insisted that the protest continue, in spite of the fact that his face was battered: “These attacks only strengthen my resolve to fight for the animals.” As they were leaving the parking lot, the DxE activists encountered a man overcome with rage who frantically repeated, “Take George Soros and go!” — giving participants a second story to tell. See for yourself:
To learn more about DxE and create or join a DxE group near you, please visit Direct Action Everywhere.