ast Sunday, a five-second video clip of vegan YouTuber Yovana Mendoza single-handedly brought down the luminous 28-year-old’s entire career. In it, you can see the raw food advocate, who goes by the name “Rawvana,” smiling at a restaurant in Bali as she prepares to tuck into her meal. But in an instant, the health guru’s face changes, as she realizes her friend’s camera is trained on her plate. She moves to cover it, but it’s too late. Internet sleuths watching the 10-minute vlog later would quickly deduce what Mendoza was trying to hide: a piece of fish.
Mendoza rushed to upload a video claiming she had only been eating fish for two months, as a remedy to the health complications she developed after six years as a vegan. But the damage was done. Former fans descended on her YouTube channel, Instagram and Twitter, posting emojis of fish and taunting her as “Fishvana.” Dozens of fellow vegan YouTubers posted horrified reactions to the scandal, unimaginatively dubbed “fishgate.”
“I felt like someone had died,” Mendoza told The Daily Beast. “It was one of the worst days of my life.”
In addition to showing how many ways you can repurpose the word “fish,” the incident brought another revelation to the surface: The vegan YouTube community is crumbling.