Tripe Marketing Board chairman Sir Norman Wrassle today firmly rejected accusations that he believes British vegans lack a sense of humour.
The suggestions were made after a recording surfaced of a speech Sir Norman gave to the British Comedy Food Awards in December 2013, when tripe narrowly lost out to bananas as the nation's favourite comedy foodstuff.
Sir Norman said his reference to "humourless, skinny and pasty-faced" vegans were directed exclusively at the small minority of vegans who had pelted him with tofu on his arrival at the ceremony, and not at the wider vegan community.
He accused Offal Monthly, which has reprinted his comments in its September issue, of deliberately trying to stir up antagonism between tripe lovers and vegans. "No one has worked harder than I to rebuild trust between tripe and the vegan community," he said, pointing to the significant representation of vegans and vegetarians on the Board. He added: "Not that I'm conflating the two - I fully realise that while all vegans are in some sense vegetarian, not all vegetarians are vegan."
Sir Norman defended his attack on the militant vegans who have continued to plague his public appearances and which led to him having to answer questions from the Board about the size of his expense claim for dry cleaning alone.
"I maintain that these particular individuals are vile and irresponsible. I've tried many times to hold out the olive branch to them, but every time they merely snatch it away and proceed to make a tasty tapenade," he said.