The foie gras is flying.
Pamela Anderson, who as a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activist has called out fur-wearers and a fast-food giant, now stands accused of peddling the "delicacy of despair."
"Pam Anderson is trying to have it both ways," Andrew Porter, spokesman for the Center of Consumer Freedom said in an email Wednesday.
At issue is vegetarian Anderson's involvement--or not--in BlackSteel, a Hollywood restaurant run by celebrity-favored chef Jason "Chef J" Harley and replete with non-vegetarian dishes.
Last week, the Center for Consumer Freedom, a PETA adversary and nonprofit group backed by restaurants and food companies, publicly accused "spokes-blonde" Anderson of being in "partnership" with BlackSteel, and "earning a second income with a menu that includes ham-hock ravioli, lamb chops, lobster tails, and the vegetarian sin-of-sins, foie gras."
It's true foie gras is not a favorite of the PETA crowd. On a PETA-run Website, the goose-liver pate is referred to as the "delicacy of despair."
It's not true, Anderson and PETA say, that the former Baywatch star is acting in "partnership" with BlackSteel.
"I'm not really involved in BlackSteel," Anderson wrote on her Website Tuesday.
PETA vice president Dan Matthews, in an accompanying post on Anderson's Website, concurred: "Pam isn't a partner in BlackSteel and makes no money from it."
In a BlackSteel-issued press release from January touting the eatery's gala grand opening, Anderson is described as "a partner."
A message left for Harley was not returned Wednesday.
Per the press release, Anderson was to host the gala, with proceeds to benefit US Doctors for Africa and PETA.
In another BlackSteel press release about its opening, Anderson is not referred to as a partner, and is noted to have worked with Harley "to include many of her favorite vegetarian dishes on the menu."
The latter press release is readily found on BlackSteel's Website; the former is not.
According to Anderson, her involvement in BlackSteel is limited to giving "Chef J," a friend of ex-husband Tommy Lee, $25,000 in start-up money "because I've worked with him many times...and I was happy to help him out."
Harley "promised he'd always offer vegetarian options, and he'd never serve foie gras," Anderson wrote.
On Wednesday, "Drunken Mussels," "Grilled Kobe Tenderloin of Beef," "Lemon Garlic Rosemary Chicken Breast Supreme" and other animal-derived dishes were found on BlackSteel's online menu; the offending foie gras was not.
"They may have miraculously pulled the foie gras from the menu, but it was there the other day," Porter said, citing an email from a colleague who reported that "Foie Gras and Truffle Pate on Crostini" was featured on BlackSteel's site last week.
In the event foie gras was served, Anderson said, she has instructed Harley to donate her seed money to PETA.
In California, it is not against the law to sell foie gras, or invest in a restaurant that serves foie gras. (Although, starting in 2012, it will be against the law there to sell foie gras that is the product of force-fed ducks and geese.)
Still, in the eyes of the Center for Consumer Freedom, Anderson is guilty. Her crime: hypocrisy.
"She can't tour the world with PETA campaigning against the 'evils' of meat consumption, then partner with a restaurant that has lobster on the menu," Porter said. "Everyone should be free to eat what they choose, whether that is foie gras or tofu dogs. But it's hypocritical to try to have it both ways."
Anderson was unruffled by the criticism. In a riff on animal-tested cosmetic supplies she may have applied or implanted in the past-- something else the center took her to task for--the actress wrote, "We all do the best we can. I feel there are no hypocrates [sic]."
In defending Anderson and, in turn, seemingly rejecting rumor of a rift between PETA and its famous honorary director, Matthews said, "There is no scandal here, just a desperate meat-trade front group trying to stir the pot by targeting Pam."
Porter called the "desperate meat-trade front group" jab "par for the course." "We have a long history with PETA," he said.
As a PETA advocate, Anderson has a long history of criticizing KFC for the alleged mistreatment of its pre-fried chickens. In the other corner, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a KFC defender. In June, when the fast-food chain was sued over its use of cooking oil, the group labeled the class-action complaint "frivolous."
On her Website, Anderson, who is due to wed Kid Rock on Saturday, didn't sound as if she was going to let the foie gras brouhaha drag down her weekend.
"I'm very happy and secure with my decisions and lifestyle," Anderson said, "and I look at these comments as opportunities rather than personal attacks."