Review: Bad Vegan￼
You don’t have to be vegan to get your heart broken by a sexy scammer
Bad Vegan: Fame, Fraud, Fugitives is a documentary directed by Chris Smith that premiered on Netflix on March 16. It shows the downfall of Sarma Melngailis, the owner of an upscale vegan fine dining restaurant named Pure Food and Wine located in New York City. Melngailis’ troubles began when she met a man who went by the name Anthony Strangis. He allegedly influenced her into stealing from her own restaurant and later going on the run. The two transferred over $1.5 million from the restaurant into their own personal banking accounts. As a result, the workers at Pure Food and Wine were unable to pay their bills and were left in the dark while Sarma was away with Anthony. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that the workers are also victims.
Viewers have been extremely divided on the documentary. One side believes that Melngailis was in on the scam with Strangis because of the phone call at the end of the documentary where she was excitedly talking to him. This begged the question; how could one possibly want to be on friendly terms with someone who did something that awful to them? Melngailis was unable to answer some of the questions that the interviewer had, like how she could possibly be covering her tattoos and every identifiable aspect of her, changing her name, yet still expect the audience to believe that she was unaware that her and Anthony were on the run.
People on the other side believe that she was a victim to a scammer’s mind games. Strangis convinced Melngailis that he would be able to make both of them, along with their dog, immortal. As viewers, we will never know the truth, so there is no point trying to come up with the conclusion. Ultimately, anyone could be scammed. You can’t predict it, but there are always ways to protect yourself. It’s important to remember that it is okay to ask for help, to consult your friends and family. If you are surrounded by people who have your best interest at heart, they might be able to notice patterns and signs in a romantic partner that, perhaps, you might have missed.
The reality is that anyone can be trapped by narcissistic manipulation; once you are, it’s very difficult to come out of it. Scam artists will love bomb you. They will shower you in expensive gifts. More than that, they will pay attention to how you react to their grand gestures of love and affection. If they see that you are easily falling for these tricks, they will push further and further. This is merely a test to determine whether you are gullible and quick to let your guard down. The most important rule of self-preservation is to never be easily swayed by the tricks of someone who is interested in you. The world of dating has unfortunately turned into a game that has the legitimate possibility of costing you your life. It is important to always be cautious and on guard. Bad Vegan is a cautionary tale that every single person should learn from, because even though you think you’ll never fall for it, it’s nearly impossible to see these things coming.