People can’t get over Netflix true crime Bad Vegan, saying it’s wilder than The Tinder Swindler
‘If you thought The Tinder Swindler was ridiculous, wait until you watch Bad Vegan’
Right, there’s a new true crime here that people already can’t get enough of. Move aside The Tinder Swindler, because Bad Vegan has just dropped on Netflix and reviews are saying it might be an even more wild story – if that’s possible.
It really could be possible, because the story behind Bad Vegan literally sounds like a combination of multiple true crime documentaries, but it really all happened in just one case. It tells the story of New York’s top raw vegan restaurant and a celebrity restauranteur whose huge empire fell apart when she met a man on Twitter who promised her the world. He told her he could make all her money worries go away, and make her and her dog live forever, if they funnelled all her business money into a mysterious group and she performed a number of “tests”. It soon turned into one of the wildest cons you’ve ever heard of, and it all fell apart when they ordered a pizza.
Here’s what you need to know about four-part true crime series Bad Vegan on Netflix, including what early reviews are saying about the documentary.
Bad Vegan on Netflix is based on the wild true story of celebrity restaurateur Sarma Melngailis
Bad Vegan tells the story of a celebrity restaurateur, Sarma Melngailis, who was once hailed as the queen of vegan cuisine. She became a fugitive when she went on the run with a man who conned her out of a fortune by convincing her he held the key to making every dream — from expanding her food empire to making her beloved pit bull Leon immortal — a reality.
Melngailis owned American raw vegan restaurant Pure Food and Wine, which opened in New York City in 2004. It soon became the top raw vegan food restaurant at the time and a celebrity hotspot, with diners including Owen Wilson, Bill Clinton, Alec Baldwin and Woody Harrelson. However, the empire came crashing down when Sarma Melngailis met Shane Fox.
She met Shane Fox in 2011 and they married in 2012. After this, Melngailis began draining her restaurant’s funds and funnelling the money to Fox, when he conned her into believing he could make her dreams come true. He was really called Anthony Strangis and said he could only make her wishes a reality if she continued to obey all his requests without question.
When Strangis and Melngailis started talking, he had told her she had to perform “tests”, many of which included wiring him money, and he could make her dog Leon immortal. Sarma claims Anthony told her he would get her enough money to take away her worries to do with the business, and she would no longer need meddling investors and could pay off her debts. At the time she owed restauranteur Jeffrey Chodorow, the investor and backer of Pure Food and Wine, $1million. She ended up draining $2million from her restaurant.
Reviews say Bad Vegan is ‘fascinating’ and people are saying it’s even more wild than The Tinder Swindler
The reviews of Bad Vegan look good. Variety called it a “fascinating tale”, adding the “astounding set of facts the doc manages to provide is not nothing, and viewers interested in hearing level-headed people describe witnessing their boss melt down will be compelled.” TV Guide has reviewed the series, saying it’s a “juicy” story and “tastier than other scam-based alternatives”. It goes on to say the show is “one of Netflix’s better true crime docuseries in recent memory” and calls Sarma Melngailis as a subject, “riveting”.
Twitter also has *a lot* to say about the doc, with lots of people comparing the con story to The Tinder Swindler and saying the story just doesn’t seem to add up. Other people have said everyone needs to watch the show “right now”.
Watch the trailer for Bad Vegan on Netflix here:
Bad Vegan is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.
Related stories recommended by this writer:
• Bad Vegan on Netflix: Who is Anthony Strangis and where is he now?
• The wild story behind shocking new Netflix true crime documentary Bad Vegan
• Who is Sarma Melngailis from Bad Vegan on Netflix and where is she now?