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Bad Vegan: Ready for a new fraud documentary? Said To Be Wilder Than The Tinder Swindler

Just when you thought Netflix couldn’t possibly pull out another viral scamming show, the Bad Vegan trailer drops.

Ever since Tiger King came out in 2020 (coinciding with the height of the first lockdown, where we needed something new to stay sane, and sending the internet into a Carol Baskin-singing frenzy), we’ve become a nation obsessed with true crime documentaries. Sure, we throw in the occasional Bridgerton-esque show, but there’s nothing quite like the tense rollercoaster that Making a Murderer and Don’t F**k With Cats offer us. 

The latest, of course, came in the form of the Tinder Swindler and then New York’s very own fake-heiress, Anna Delvey in Inventing Anna, but it looks like Netflix have an even bigger, more unbelievable, story up their sleeves: Bad Vegan.  

And if you came here thinking you were about to get some sort of documentary about vegans who broke and ate cheese, think again, because while it’s not a food-focused film, it’s much more scandalous than the title might suggest. 

The new four-part Netflix show will focus on Sarma Melngailis, a celebrity vegan restaurateur — and owner of the then-most famous raw food restaurant in America. But, what starts as a successful project quickly unravels into a disaster (as you might have guessed), with Netflix titling the series, Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.

Plus, the documentary comes from Chris Smith, the executive producer of Tiger King and director of Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (anyone else still think about #Watergate?). 

*Grabs popcorn*

So, if you’ve got a tense docuseries hole in your life, hold tight, here’s everything we know about Bad Vegan.

Is there a trailer for Bad Vegan?

Yes! Often we have to wait for a trailer so we could not be more grateful that we can dive straight in here. 

Don’t get too excited though, because the Bad Vegan trailer is incredibly cryptic and hardly gives away anything about the show, though it will give you a taste of the scale of the craziness we can expect from the four instalments. 


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“Trust Netflix to turn a vegan documentary into a must watch crime thriller,” commented one viewer below the trailer, while another added: “Thank you Netflix for now we can switch our attention from Anna Delvey to Sarma Melngailis.”

What is Bad Vegan about?

Now, we don’t know many deets, but, as we’ve already hinted at, Bad Vegan follows the story of Sarma Melngailis, a real-life, celebrity restaurateur and owner of NY vegan hotspot, Pure Food and Wine.

Once referred to as the ‘queen of vegan cuisine’, Melngailis takes a big tumble from grace, and ends up as a fugitive on the run with her partner Shane Fox (real name: Anthony Strangis). 

The Netflix synopsis reads: “Shortly after meeting a man named Shane Fox on Twitter in 2011, Melngailis begins draining her restaurant’s funds and funnelling the money to Fox after he cons her into believing he could make her dreams – from expanding her food empire to making her beloved pitbull immortal – a reality, but only if she continues to obey his every request without question.”

Obviously though, granting her wishes comes at a cost, as Strangis asks Melngailis to obey his every (bizarre!) request. At some point, the pair, who are now married, are found to have stolen nearly $2 million from the restaurant and its staff.

When will Bad Vegan air?

Bad Vegan will be released on Netflix on 16th March, which means we have under a month to go before we can get stuck in. In the meantime, we’ll be filling our time by scrolling Simon Leviev’s new Instagram account (yep, he’s back). 

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